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Zebras that escaped in Washington are now in quarantine in Montana

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jun 03, 2024

BUTTE - The state claims that an Opportunity woman brought zebras into Montana without first getting the required health certifications on the animals.

On April 28, animal control officers in Washington responded after four zebras were found wandering near Interstate 90 in North Bend, Washington. Officials said that with the help of good Samaritans, they captured three of the zebras within hours.

The fourth zebra, Sugar, managed to elude animal control for several days, but was eventually captured after being spotted just southeast of North Bend.

The Montana State Veterinarian told MTN News that these zebras are now in quarantine.

The owner of the zebras, identified as Kristine Keltgen who lives near Anaconda, did not have the animals medically cleared before bringing them into Montana.

In Montana, zebras are legal to own and, like horses, must first be tested for equine infectious anemia, a serious disease that can be spread through insect bites.

“Essentially, so that we're not moving disease around the country. Those tests and those visual inspections by veterinarians hopefully can help us find disease sooner and therefore minimize the impact to all of our industry,” said State Veterinarian Tahnee Szymanski.

A person who brings animals into the state without a health certificate could face a fine or jail time.

The Opportunity case is still being investigated and no citations have been issued.