Wednesday, October 19, 2011
In one of the most tragic and horrific examples of why individuals should never be allowed to own exotic animals, Terry Thompson, of Zanesville, OH unlatched the cages which housed lions, tigers, bears and wolves on his property, then committed suicide.
48 wild animals, including lions, bears and wolves escaped into the surrounding area, causing Ohio sheriffs to hunt down, shoot and kill the menagerie citing concerns for human safety. Why the sheriff’s department did not first try to tranquilize the animals and offer them to nearby the Columbus Zoo remains unanswered.
Some of the animals were still in their cages at Thompson’s farm when authorities arrived. The animals, including three leopards and some primates that were living in the house, are being taken to the Columbus Zoo.
One large cat was struck and wounded on I-70 Highway. The State Highway Patrol was expected to kill the animal.
A caretaker on the property told deputies that 48 animals lived outside the house in cages. More animals, mostly monkeys, baboons and apes lived inside Thompson’s house.
Terry Thompson was released from a federal prison just three weeks ago, after serving a one-year term after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives raided his property in June 2008, seizing more than 100 guns. In April 2010, Thompson pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Columbus to two federal charges: possession of a machine gun and possession of short firearms without serial numbers.
This tragedy may well have been avoided but were it not for the poor judgement of Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, who after taking office, allowed a law to lapse signed by former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland prohibiting anyone who had been “convicted of an offense involving the abuse or neglect of any animal pursuant to any state, local, or federal law” from owning exotic animals.