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Two 'at large' zebras return to Maryland farm four months after escaping

A third zebra died after it was caught in a trap. Their caretaker was accused of animal cruelty.

Two zebras that escaped from a Maryland farm four months ago have returned to the property and reunited with their herd, officials said Tuesday.

The zebras, which 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 said 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 the lawyer, Steven Vinick.

Holly, 76, is an exotic animal breeder and trader who is licensed by the U.S. Agriculture Department to have 39 zebras at his property, NBC Washington reported.

The animals were taken to his farm about 20 miles east of Washington, D.C., shortly before three of them escaped on Aug. 31. Authorities initially believed five were missing.

Zebras in Upper Marlboro, Md.NBC Washington

Holly was charged in October with three counts of animal cruelty after the third zebra died after it was 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 most 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 to investigate the incident and will take "taking appropriate legal action" against Holly.