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By Michael Winter, USA TODAY

So, this man with a zebra and parrot walks out of a bar -

No, it's not the set-up for a joke, but an intoxicatingly true story out of Dubuque, Iowa, according to news reports from the Hawkeye State.

Jerald Reiter, 55, of Cascade, Iowa, was backing his truck out of the Dog House Lounge parking lot Sunday night when police stopped him. His passengers? A small zebra in the back seat and a macaw parrot on his shoulder, the Telegraph Herald reports.

Officers said Reiter's blood-alcohol level was .14 (the limit is .08), so he was charged with driving drunk (officially, operating while intoxicated). He admits he was behind the wheel but was going to let his other passenger -- his human buddy -- do the driving, according to the local Gazette.

Reiter thinks someone in the crowd of gawkers called police to complain about the "welfare" of his novel pets, which often go for rides.

He said his local watering hole often allows pets, but not Sunday night, because the owner told him food was being served. TV station KCRG.com got a different story: no animals are ever allowed inside. (Will the bar owner be in the dog house if the alcohol and health inspectors stop by?)

Reiter's girlfriend, Vicki Teter, told the Gazette that their animals "are a big part of the family," and that she understands people's reactions to their exotic pets.

"It's not every day you see somebody that's got a zebra or a parrot in the house, and who knows tomorrow what might be in our house," she said.

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