Maryland owner of zebras that broke loose faces criminal charges

A Maryland man whose zebras garnered national attention when they broke loose in Prince George’s County is now facing criminal charges.

Prince George’s County prosecutors say Jerry Lee Holly of Upper Marlboro has been charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty.

READ MORE: Zebra that escaped from farm in Prince George's County confirmed dead; 2 remain loose

The zebras have been loose for more than 50 days – and one of them died when they became trapped in an illegal snare.

Investigators believe someone should have heard the animal as it died.

VIDEO: Zebras remain on the loose in Upper Marlboro

Another zebra from the original herd owned by Holly died within the enclosure on Tuesday, according to law enforcement. The department of environment says they are investigating.

Holly is being accused of inflicting unnecessary suffering or pain on a zebra. The charges allege that he didn't provide the zebras with nutritious food in sufficient quantity and that he didn't give them proper shelter.

The Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s office described the zebras as a "public nuisance" and "dangerous to public health, safety, and welfare."

An Upper Marlboro man, Theodore McKenzie, told FOX 5 that the two remaining zebras who escaped are currently being cared for and monitored on private property.

McKenzie started a foundation called Save the Zebras and is looking after them with the help of some high-tech field cameras.

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"I happened to be the right guy at the right place to help the zebras and we are going to make sure we do that," he says. "It just so happened that I had involvement with the land where they’ve made their home now and I’m doing everything in my power to make sure that they stay safe and healthy and happy."

The zebras have captured the imagination of people throughout the D.C. region and beyond as video surfaced showing them in the woods in Upper Marlboro and crossing a roadway.