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Md. officials work to corral remaining zebras on the loose after one dies in snare trap

WJLA – Washington D.C. logo WJLA – Washington D.C. 10/16/2021 Sonia Dasgupta
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UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJLA) — Animal control officials in Prince George's County are working to corral two zebras who remain on the loose after escaping an Upper Marlboro farm more than a month ago. 

The county is in communication with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the owner, and the caretaker of the exotic animals to capture the zebras. One of the zebras was found dead in a snare trap, Maryland Natural Resources Police reported Thursday. Snare traps are illegal in the county. 

MD NRP officers responded to private property in Upper Marlboro in Prince George's County and found the zebra in a snare trap near a field. NRP is now investigating how the snare trap got there and who, if anyone, is responsible for the zebra's death. 

The current plan is to utilize food and other zebras to attract the zebras into a corral, so they can be returned to the herd. 

RELATED | 'You can't hunt them down': PG Animal Services has plan to catch zebras on the loose

"Our priority is to make sure the zebras are captured and returned to the herd," says Prince George’s County Department of Environment Director Andrea L. Crooms. "Once this is accomplished, the County will conduct a further investigation, and any actions including any appropriate charges against the owner will be evaluated."

Humane Society of the United States officials said the zebras' owner Jerry Holley is a USDA licensed breeder with locations in Maryland and Florida. However, they said he has a long list of federal Animal Welfare Act violations. 

According to Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, Maryland state director for the Humane Society of the United States:

“The sad fate of this zebra underscores the seriousness of this issue – both from the cruelty of captive exotic animal ownership and operations to the dangerous and barbaric use of traps," said Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, Maryland State Director for the HSUS.

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"While Maryland has some restrictions against owning wild animals as pets, the law still allows some species to be kept in private homes, where their ‘owners’ are not able to properly provide for their care and well-being. In addition to the breeding farm owned by Holly, there have been sales of baby zebras at an auction house in Thurmont the last two months. Zebras and other exotic animals are not meant to be pets or by unqualified facilities, as this Maryland zebra ownership, escape and now tragic death has further proven," she added. 

Caption: The Humane Society of the United States speaks with Dave Lucas about snare traps and exotic pet ownership.{p}{/p}

She said Holley was fined more than $12,000 in 213 for violations including "inadequate veterinary care, unsafe enclosures, inadequate shelter, enclosures in disrepair, filthy conditions, and failure to maintain records of acquisition and disposition."

"The terrible fate of this zebra also shows how lax our laws are on trapping. Last year the Maryland legislature almost passed a bill that would have expanded the use of barbaric snare traps in the state. This sad situation is evidence that snare traps are dangerous – and too often catch unintended victims – sometimes people or pets. The legislature must learn from this and take steps to prohibit the use of cruel and indiscriminate snare traps across the state," she added. 

SEE ALSO: Horsin' around! Zebras reported on the loose in Upper Marlboro

The public is asked to continue to report any sightings of the zebras to PGC311 or by contacting the Animal Services Division at 301-780-7200.

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