Bloomington, IL

Zebra Euthanized After Illinois Police Conduct Routine Traffic Stop, Finds Dozens of Injured Animals

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Pennsylvania man arrested for hauling 138 animals including zebra, cows, sheep, goats, many seriously injured

A routine traffic stop on I-74 eastbound, near mile marker 144, last week led to the discovery of over 130 injured animals, including a zebra, and resulted in the arrest of a Pennsylvania man, 44-year-old Judah Silker.

The McLean County Sheriff's Office conducted the traffic stop for violations and found the animals inside an animal hauler. Alongside the zebra, the hauler contained six cows, one sheep, and approximately 130 goats, all in varying states of distress.

Silker was arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine and cruel treatment of animals. He was also cited for a traffic violation and booked into the McLean County Detention Facility. Subsequently, he was released with a notice to appear in court.

Jay Pratte, director of the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, known for his expertise in exotic animals, was called to assess the zebra's condition. McLean County Animal Control was also brought in to assist with the care of the other animals. After consultation with a veterinarian and a review of the animals' state, they were relocated to the McLean County Fairgrounds where they could receive food and water.

On the following day, local veterinarians and the Illinois Department of Agriculture State Inspector conducted further evaluations. Regrettably, due to the zebra's circumstances, it was determined that humane euthanasia was the most compassionate choice, and it was euthanized in accordance with the McLean County Sheriff’s Office.

After thorough welfare examinations, the remaining animals were deemed fit to continue their journey to their destination.

Silker was instructed to take the animals to a rest stop before proceeding to his next destination, a directive overseen by the State Inspector to ensure the animals' well-being.


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