Maryland’s Wayward Zebras Finally Captured After Four Months on the Loose

by Kati Michelle
(Photo by Piyas Biswas/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In order to understand the full gravity of this Zebra-venture, we first have to go back in time to late August. This is when a group of zebras first broke loose from a Maryland farm. Reports of sightings began flooding in and officials hatched a plan for their capture. Zebras are a special breed and cannot be chased. Instead, they need to be corralled. So, officials planned to trick them into a pasture with food. But that’s not what happened.

Unfortunately, one of the zebras died stumbling upon an illegal snare on nearby uninhabited land officially owned by the Girl Scouts. In response, the organization said it must have been placed there by an “unauthorized trespasser.” So, Operation More Zebras brought us to October. This time, officials tried to bait the two escapees with members of their own dazzle. This didn’t work either, though.

After nearly four months, the story comes to an end today. It’s not the perfect ending everyone was hoping for, but two reunited zebras are certainly better than none at all.

An Official Spokesperson Says the Zebras are Safe and Sound But Reveals Little Else

An official spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment updated the public on the situation this week. They confirmed the capture of the two remaining zebras but did not provide any details about their recovery.

Apparently, neither the USDA nor Prince George’s County Animal Services were involved with the successful capture. An unnamed source told them about the rescue sometime Monday and they confirmed the zebras’ whereabouts shortly thereafter.

The zebras belong to Jerry Holly who keeps them on his farm in Upper Marlboro.

Between 30 and 40 zebras make up the full dazzle.

Farm Owner Faces Animal Cruelty Charges

Officials reportedly found another deceased zebra at Holly’s farm. Shortly after, the Animal Services Division filed criminal animal cruelty charges against Holly who then lawyered up in response. His lawyer, Steven B. Vinick, maintains his innocence. In an email from last week, Vinick reportedly made the following statement regarding the zebras’ return:

“Like the other zebras, [the two returned zebras] are healthy, well-fed, and cared for,” he said. Vinick also said that his client “has been and is a respected businessman in Prince George’s County, and he looks forward to being able to show in court that there is no merit whatsoever to any of the charges pending against him.”

According to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Holly does “have the appropriate license for the zebras” at his Maryland farm.

Holly also holds a record with other animal welfare violations connected to his farm in Florida.