Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) used the recent news story of five pet zebras running loose in the suburbs of D.C. to issue a satirical press release denying any involvement in their escape Friday, and plugging her pet issue of D.C. statehood in the meantime.
The zebras in question escaped from their home in Prince George’s County, Maryland, last week, when Norton said that she was “enjoying quiet time at home with family” who would back up her alibi.
Norton said any charges of her involvement were “understandable,” given her track record of emphasizing the “importance of having consent of the governed,” as well as her “recent opposition to fences.”
Her reasoning referenced one of her main legislative projects, D.C statehood, and her work in recent months to have the fencing put up around the U.S. Capitol building in the wake of the Jan. 6 riots torn down.
Norton’s communication director Sharon Eliza Nichols told Forbes in a statement the Friday press release was satirical and a “tongue-in-cheek” way to tie current events to Norton’s legislative priorities, build goodwill and get the congresswoman’s name out in the media.
The dazzle of zebras have been on the loose for more than a week after escaping from a 39-zebra farm near Upper Marlboro, roughly 20 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. County officials told the Washington Post the zebras, traveling in two groups of two and three individual zebras, have been spotted and reported by at least four residents in the area. The zebra’s owner has a permit from the United States Department of Agriculture to keep the exotic animals on his property, Prince George’s County officials told the newspaper, but warned residents zebras can be dangerous. “Never approach them, and don’t try to pet them,” the county’s animal services chief Rodney Taylor told the Washington Post. “They’re not going to chase you down. But they are zebras, so they’re not handled by people a lot, so to defend themselves they could bite.”
Zebras run wild after escape from a Maryland farm (Washington Post)