Three Zebras Escaped Jerry Holly’s Exploitation—One Was Killed, the Other Two Were Relegated to His Hopeless Farm

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More than three 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)—apparently while they were being transported to his farm, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture citation.

In November, reports emerged revealing that one of the zebras had died in September in an illegal snare trap that had been set right outside 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 cruelty to animals.

Yet when the two remaining zebras were finally recaptured, authorities apparently did nothing to ensure that they went to a reputable facility. Instead, they were put right back into the hands of Holly, whose AWA violations would make anyone cringe.

Who Is Jerry Holly? The Man Behind Maryland Zebra Escapes Has a History of Animal Welfare Violations

In March 2013, 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, he sent three young zebras to an exotic-animal auction in Tennessee. Two were barely over a month old, and one was only 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.

Two zebras in the wild galloping across open land

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 one can cause a serious injury.

Never visit roadside zoos, traveling circus-style shows, or any other venues 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. Ask the circus to stop using these animals in its shows:

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