Two zebras that have eluded capture since September after escaping from a Maryland farm have returned to the property and been reunited with their herd.
The zebras, who had been roaming “at large” since August, returned to the 300-acre private farm in Upper Marlboro last week, the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment said in a news release.
The release added that the farm’s owner alerted federal officials about their return. A lawyer for the owner, Jerry Lee Holly, said in an email that Holly’s employees captured and “humanely” returned them to the herd.
“Like the other zebras, they are healthy, well-fed and cared for,” said Steven Vinick, the lawyer.
Holly, 76, is an exotic animal breeder and trader and licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have 39 zebras at his property, according to NBC Washington.
The animals were brought to his farm roughly 20 miles east of Washington, D.C. shortly before three of them escaped on Aug. 31. Authorities initially believed five were missing.
Holly was charged in October with three counts of animal cruelty after the third zebra died after being caught in an illegal snare trap.
A charging document obtained by NBC Washington cited “failure to provide” for the three escaped zebras and added that the third animal likely died from dehydration.
Holly did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Vinick described him as a “respected businessman in Price George’s County” who “looks forward to being able to show in court that there is no merit whatsoever” to the charges.
Tuesday’s release said county officials will continue investigating the incident and taking “taking appropriate legal action” against Holly.