Editorials

Partially skinned and left to rot: That’s no way to treat a zebra

Zebras and cattle graze at Hearst Ranch in December.
Zebras and cattle graze at Hearst Ranch in December. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

It may not get the perpetrator(s) in trouble with the law, but skinning a zebra and then walking away, leaving the abandoned body on a beach, is just plain creepy.

The zebra was from Hearst Ranch, and according to officials, it died of natural causes. The partially skinned body washed up at the mouth of Pico Creek near San Simeon; it was this weekend. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife responded, but because Hearst Ranch decided against investigating the matter, the agencies will not do so either.

According to state law, it is illegal to import, buy, sell or possess with intent to sell the parts of a zebra (among many other exotic animals) in California.

But even if that’s not what’s happening in this case — say the perpetrator planned to keep the pelt for personal use — or if there’s some loophole that exempts California-born zebras from the law, please do something with the skinned carcass of this once-beautiful animal, for heaven’s sake! What if some kids happened upon the remains? We’re talking nightmares for at least a month.

On an “ick” scale of 1 to 10, this was an 11. For that, we’re rounding up a galloping herd of black-and-white brickbats for a stampede of the responsible party(ies).

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