Owner of three zebras that escaped in Maryland charged with animal cruelty

Two months after three zebras were spotted on the run in Maryland, their owner has been charged with animal cruelty.

Jerry Lee Holly, an exotic animal trader, was charged just days after it was revealed that one of the zebras that had been on the loose since August was caught in an illegal snare trap and died.

The animal was found within feet of Holly’s property line.


The trio of zebras were first spotted at the end of August in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

“I thought it was a deer for a second and then I saw it was a zebra – a whole zebra right next to our playground right next to the fence. So, I ran upstairs to get a better look up there and then I said, ‘Mom, there’s, like, a zebra outside our playground’ and she didn’t believe me and said I was crazy,” Layla Curling told News4.

Prince George’s County Animal Shelter initially said that five zebras had escaped from a farm, though it was later revealed only three of the more than two dozens animals had escaped.

Holly, who legally owns the zebras, set up feeding stations in order to corral the zebras, but the animals always got away.

By mid-September the animals were still on the loose. However, officials recently confirmed that one of the zebras had been killed after it was caught in a snare trap, which is illegal in Maryland.

Police are investigating who set the trap.

According to NPR, charges were filed on Tuesday against Holly.

Court documents accuse him of causing “unnecessary suffering or pain on a Zebra.”

It also states, “The zebras at large have not received adequate food, water, or veterinary care. One of the zebras died because it was at-large.”

“At this time, the DoE is not impounding the remaining animals housed on the property,” the statement reads. “However, the DoE is exploring all options, and potential partnerships with animal sanctuaries should the animals be removed.”

If found guilty, Holly faces 90 days in prison or a $1,000 fine for each count.

Two of the zebras are still on the loose. Two additional zebras have been placed in a corral in hopes that they will help lure the wild zebras back.

It breaks my heart that one of the zebras died. I hope the other two are caught and are able to live a healthy life somewhere safe.

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