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Escaped zebras returned to Leesburg zoo

By Sylvia Carignan,

Two zebras have returned to their petting zoo after roaming a Leesburg neighborhood Monday afternoon.

The zebras had escaped from Leesburg Animal Park when two workers, unaffiliated with the park, accidentally left a gate open. Leesburg residents called authorities about noon to report that the animals were wandering around Route 15 and Valley Brook Lane.

“The deputies did what they could,” said Kraig Troxell, spokesman for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. “They kind of kept an eye on them to ensure they weren’t going to make any movement toward Route 15.”

A veterinarian tranquillized the zebras, allowing them to be taken back to their enclosures at the petting zoo.

Animal control officer Mark Stacks said the zoo reported the escape to Loudoun Animal Care and Control before the zebras were spotted by nearby residents. “Since the zebras were in very close proximity to the park, that was where we started looking,” he said.

“At no point were they in danger,” Stacks said. “Houses were spread out on bigger lots.”

Troxell said the sheriff’s office often receives reports of escaped animals in rural parts of Loudoun.

“It’s not strange to come in, look at the dispatch screen in the morning and see [loose] cattle,” he said.

Troxell said the office has had calls in previous years about a loose kangaroo, buffalo and serval, a wild African cat.

carignans@washpost.com

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