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Zebra euthanized after Illinois traffic stop leads to exploration of over 130 injured animals

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MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — A Pennsylvania man driving an animal hauler was arrested by the McLean County Sheriff’s Office after a traffic stop last Sunday.

In conducting a traffic stop on I-74 eastbound, near mile marker 144, for traffic violations, the driver was identified as 44-year-old Judah Silker.

After further investigation by the deputy, there were injured animals in the hauler including a zebra, six cows, one sheep, and approximately 130 goats, according to the McLean County Sheriff’s Office.

Silker was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and cruel treatment of animals, as well as cited for a traffic violation, and was booked into the McLean County Detention Facility. He was then released with a notice to appear.

Jay Pratte, the director of the Miller Park Zoo of Bloomington was contacted because of his specialty in exotic animals the McLean County Sheriff’s Office said. Pratte responded to the scene to examine the zebra. McLean County Animal Control was also contacted to assist with the other animals.

After a veterinarian was consulted and given information about the current state of the animals, the animals were relocated to the McLean County Fairgrounds where they could receive food and water before further arrangements could be made.

On Monday, more local veterinarians and the Illinois Department of Agriculture State Inspector evaluated the animals. After evaluating and examining the zebra, it was determined that humane euthanasia was the best choice for it due to its circumstances, so it was then euthanized according to the McLean County Sheriff’s Office.

After further welfare examinations were given to the rest of the animals, it was determined that they were safe to continue traveling to their destination.

Silker was ordered to immediately take the animals to a rest stop before going to his next destination. The State Inspector made sure the animals were taken to the rest stop as he was instructed.

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