Outrage continues over shooting of Hearst Ranch zebras
January 12, 2011
The national media is picking up the local story of the three zebras who wandered off Hearst Ranch on Jan 5, only to be shot and killed by two ranchers. [LA Times]
Two of the three zebras showed up on David Fiscalini’s cattle ranch and he killed them with his shotgun. A third zebra was killed by another rancher.
Fiscalini defended his actions by saying the zebras had spooked his horses.
Fanning the controversy were reports of Fiscalini’s actions the day after the shooting, when he called a local taxidermist out to the ranch and said he needed one of the zebras skinned and its hide tanned. “He wants to make a rug,” said Rosemary Anderson, the taxidermist’s wife. “You can’t believe the controversy.”
The Hearst Corp. still owns the 128-square-mile ranch that surrounds the castle. It was once home to more than 300 animals but most were sold off in the 1930s, said William Randolph Hearst’s great-grandson, Stephen Hearst. But some sheep, deer and 65 zebras continue to graze there, he said.
The zebras, Hearst said, rarely venture beyond the fence, “but from time to time they do, and neighbors give us a call and we retrieve them.”
He said he was shocked that Fiscalini hadn’t called him instead of shooting them.
“Was the threat so imminent that his first thought was to make a rug out of them?” Hearst asked. “It’s just a shame, and it’s a little bit rude in my book. You know, neighbors are supposed to help other neighbors.”
It is not known whether Fiscalini violated any state laws in shooting the zebras.