Two months ago in Maryland, three zebras escaped from exotic-animal breeder Jerry Holly — a man who’s been cited for more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Since the zebras escaped, local animal control officers have tried unsuccessfully to recapture them as they ran through an unfamiliar area, leading to extensive media coverage.
The owner of the three zebras that escaped from a farm in suburban Maryland in August was charged with three counts of animal cruelty on Tuesday, the authorities said. https://t.co/C5QbcjZ13Q
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 21, 2021
Last week, reports emerged revealing that one of the zebras had died in an illegal snare trap in September; however, it wasn’t initially clear where—or by whom—that trap had been placed. It turns out that the snare was set right outside Jerry Holly’s farm. What’s more, investigators also found another dead zebra on his farm who hadn’t escaped. Now, he’s being charged with three counts of animal cruelty.
Two zebras who escaped from Holly’s farm still remain at large.
Who Is Jerry Holly? The Man Behind Maryland Zebra Escapes Has a History of Animal Welfare Violations
In March 2013, Jerry Holly was assessed a civil penalty of over $12,000 for 46 violations of the AWA since March 2010, including for the following:
- Using a transport trailer with exposed sharp sheet metal that a lion cut his face on and nine other instances of failing to repair enclosures with sharp points
- Failing even to notify a veterinarian to a female vervet monkey with a red, raw, wet wound behind her left ear and a lesion on her right knee as well as, on a separate occasion, a male vervet with an open wound on his tail
- Failing to provide animals with shelter
- Failing to clean and sanitize enclosures
In 2017, Holly was cited after a herd of 51 zebras didn’t have access to potable drinking water.
In 2018, Holly sent three young zebras to an exotic-animal auction in Tennessee. Two were barely over a month old, and one was 2 months old. PETA had previously uncovered that exotic-animal auctions like this are cesspools of cruelty and abuse.
The matter is as black and white as a zebra’s stripes: Zebras don’t want to be held in roadside zoos or used in traveling acts, nor should they be.
As prey animals, zebras are highly susceptible to stress. They can be unpredictable and have a tendency to react skittishly, which can lead to severe physical trauma.
They are also dazzling escape artists and have managed to break away from exotic-animal races, traveling circuses, and roadside zoos—sometimes meeting a tragic and fatal demise after running through busy streets.
Zebras who run amok pose a danger to both themselves and the public. When they bite, they don’t let go, and a kick from a zebra can cause a serious injury.
Never visit roadside zoos, traveling circus-style shows, or any other venue in which zebras or other wild animals are exploited for entertainment.
Take Action for Zebras
Zebras traveling with the UniverSoul Circus have escaped on multiple occasions, sending police and their handlers in pursuit as they ran through busy city streets.