Runaway Zebra from Hearst Ranch killed by local cattlemen

Heart Ranch Zebras
Three zebra from the Hearst Ranch were shot and killed when they accidentally wandered onto neighboring cattlemen's property. Skins from two were taken for tanning by one of the killers.

The Associated Press reports:

Three zebras that escaped last week from the Hearst Ranch were shot to death by neighboring ranchers who say the animals threatened their horses and cattle.

David Fiscalini, owner of the Green Valley Cattle Company, said he shot two of the zebras because they were chasing seven horses on his property about 10 miles from the Hearst Ranch.

After shooting the animals, Mr. Fiscalini took them to a taxidermist to have their hides tanned; he said he did not want to waste them.

via the New York Times >>

In a related story filed by the Los Angeles Times:

“You can’t believe the controversy,” said Rosemary Anderson, whose husband is the taxidermist that handled the zebras.

“It breaks my heart to see it killed, because it’s wanton waste,” she said. “It’s very sad that it wasn’t handled in a different manner, but this rancher felt that was he taking care of his property and getting rid of a predator.”

A predator? Zebra?

Living 10 miles from Heart Castle, where did he think these highly dangerous predator Zebra came from? Surely cattlemen aren’t that stupid. Well, everything looks like meal to a cattle rancher I guess.

The article continues:

Stephen Hearst, the great-grandson of William Randolph Hearst, said he was shocked to learn about the killings.

He said the zebras rarely venture outside the fence that surrounds the Hearst Ranch, “but from time to time they do, and neighbors give us a call and we retrieve them.”

Here are couple more points made in another Associated Press story:

“Neighbors are usually there to help their neighbors, not shoot their zebras,” Hearst said. “It’s a shame they took that action.”

But Fiscalini said there wasn’t time. It’s branding time on his ranch, and replacing a horse that might have been injured in a clash with the zebras would have cost him tens of thousands of dollars, he explained.

via San Francisco Chronicle’s >>


You will see from the opening images of this video the Hearst zebra grazing contentedly among cattle. The poor unsuspecting zebra did not know when they unwittingly joined cattle on neighboring land they would be immediately shot on sight. The zebra were probably excited to see the horses and were just having a game. What a deadly game it turned out to be. And we agree. Wanton waste indeed.

13 thoughts on “Runaway Zebra from Hearst Ranch killed by local cattlemen”

  1. William Randolph Hearst jr interupted my working on some of the plant work I was doing at the castle(at no charge) to go with him to a meeting with some neighboring ranchers at a break in the fence, him wanting me to go because I knew them personally and independant of him. With two Fiscalinis present and two Machados there(Gene Machado was there with his father doing all the talking for the ranchers) and other ranchers. When the father of Gene Machado finished William Randolph Hearst jr said only: “If any of our animals get on your land you have our permission to shoot them”. Him and I returned to where the foreman was and where the foreman was told to round up the Hearst animals and mend the fence. I did not hear of the subject again until I started reading and hearing the smearing of the ranchers involved and Cambria and others -from coast-to-coast by Hearst! Meeting face-to-face had not worked;now, Hearst is crying why wasn’t there another meeting. How many times of Hearst animals crossing over and meetings is it going to take for Hearst to keep their animals on their own land? Grow up Hearst people.


    1. Bobby, if the shooters had permission from Hearst Jr, why didn’t they just say so? And why did one tell the papers he thought the zebra was a predator? I mean, really. How lame is that. The killer saw his chance to get some free zebra skins it looks like to me. The video showed the zebra munching peacefully along with cattle. Maybe not exactly what a rancher wants in the long term, but in the short term, until Hearst came to get his animals, hardly a threat. The whole story stinks to high heaven. At the end of day, neither of the killers or the owner seem to actually care about the animals, just saving face because they all got caught out.


  2. Just the fact that he sent them to a taxidermist, tells just exactly what was in his mind from the start , would anyone with a rational mind ever believe that????? and It was not because he thought them to be a predator, He was the Predator ……………………………………… looking for a disgusting selfish trophies…………..


  3. Exactly Carrie….this ‘chest pounding’ gonna save his cattle & horses from the ‘killer Zebra’ ????????????????? An f___g moron who is an embarrasment to the ‘ranching’ comunities!
    I do hope that the Hearst Ranch charge him & why in hell does he have ANY right or the NERVE to send the hides to a taxidermist??? Could it be why he shot them in the first place???? They are NOT your animals IDIOT!!!!


  4. I lived on a family ranch for more than 23 years and know first hand how farmers/ranchers/cowboys will cry and even pout if the government doesn’t offer them a hand. They call themselves true men and gentlemen, but I know better after witnessing many cruelties to livestock for the sake of money. Still, how loud would David Fiscalini’s voice been had the zebra’s been his and a neighbor killed off his source of livelyhood?


  5. I am horrified by this mans actions, what ever happened to respect your neighbor and help your neighbor, and give them a call before you kill what doesnt belong to you?????????????????????? A zebra is a predator ?????? The only predator here was Mr. Fiscalini …………… not the Zebras…..What kind of twisted thinking is this anyway !!!!!! Yes !!! this atrocity required lots of discipline I just choked down a multitude of bad words to use …………………… This man has No Commonsense if he did it only involved one 2 minute phone call!!!!!!!……………………….. Sorry had to say it A–h—


  6. Vivian – I respect your site, so none of the filthy words trying so desperately escape to the keyboard will be used.
    However, I’m troubled to find these expletives vying for equal expression with hysterical laughter and tears of anger at this man’s behavior.
    I’m assuming he’s been in the neighborhood long enough to have at least heard of the Hearst Ranch peripherally, so summary execution of a zebra before calling it’s owner? Just seems a tad ridiculous (particularly the ‘predator’ angle). However, he was able to make time to skin the animal. And completely comfortable in taking it to the local taxidermist. What the (fill in appropriate filth)
    I’m also having a lot of difficulty with the notion that, in these economically-depressed times, with the ‘unwanted’ and ‘excess’ horses glutting American markets so severely, (as recent symposiums have been chanting from the rooftops) this man has a cattle horse worth 10’s of thousands of dollars.
    THAT must be SOME Horse…
    Other curses whirling through my head are those of the “wish I was magic” variety; it’s fortunate my psychic connection has a flat and I’ve left my Juju beads in my other purse. Surely, that can’t be any more idiotic than the actions of this fella.


    1. Thank you, Lisa, for your considerable discipline. I found it hard to believe my eyes when I read the man in question thought a zebra to be a predator. Perhaps he is a thwarted big game hunter, saw a chance and seized it.

      It is people such as these who always cry about the rights of owners and their animals, i.e. horse owners and slaughter, yet in this instance none was considered or given at all to the owner of these zebra, who were obviously there quite by accident. If the zebra had escaped from a zoo or travelling circus would he have done the same? They are hardly wild at any rate, and probably quite docile.

      A quick call to the Hearst Mansion would have fixed the situation. Insofar as being too busy, he had enough time on his hands from branding to visit the local taxidermist to have the hides tanned. I am wondering if he cut himself up some zebra roasts and chops while he was at it. Shame, shame upon him.


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