October 19th, 2011
01:12 PM ET

All but two animals accounted for, sheriff says

[Updated 3:31 p.m. ET] A grey wolf and a monkey were still on the loose 19 hours after authorities began hunting down animals released from a farm outside Zanesville, Ohio, a local sheriff told reporters Wednesday.

"We have 48 animals that are dead and those were animals that were released or got out of dens," said Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz. Authorities were able to save six animals, which are being transported to the Columbus zoo, he said.

The animals were among 56 exotic animals released Tuesday from Terry Thompson's farm outside Zanesville.

Thompson, 62, was found dead and authorities were waiting on the results of an autopsy, Lutz said. But he added that preliminary investigations indicated Thompson released his animals and then died from a self-inflicted wound. He had pried open cages and left the farm's fences open.

Animals that had to be put down around the owner's 78-area property in eastern Ohio include 18 tigers, nine lions, six black bears, three mountain lions and two baboons, Lutz said.

Flashing signs on the highways in eastern Ohio warned motorists Wednesday: "Caution. Exotic animals."

Schools shuttered and some frightened residents said they were keeping to their homes as sheriff's deputies hunted lions, tigers, leopards and grizzly bears that escaped from a preserve after the death of the owner.

Lutz said his deputies, who found themselves in a volatile situation, had to shoot some of the animals at close range. A Bengal tiger was put down after it got agitated from a tranquilizer shot.

"We are not talking about your normal everyday house cat or dog," Lutz said. "These are 300-pound Bengal tigers that we have had to put down. "When we got here, obviously, public safety was my number one concern. We could not have animals running loose in this county."

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Filed under: Animals • Justice • Leopards • Monkeys • Mountain lions • Ohio • U.S.
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    The mountain lion and grizzly could probably be left to go feral. The monkey, not so much.

    October 19, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • ????

      Hi Cesar!

      October 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. raven

    This is why some people should stick to owning fishtanks. Or pet rocks,member those ?

    October 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bobcat2u.

    When it is apparent that a gunshot wound was the cause of death, why do they always do an autopsy to figure out the cause of death ?

    October 19, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • gillian

      To completely rule out foul play. I was an autopsy assistant. But I will agree, many autopsies are unnecessary

      October 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      That's actually a logical response Gillian but I have to ask, how does one move down life's road to be an autopsy assistant? I hadn't considered there was such a thing.

      October 19, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      Point taken, but even when it's a flat out murder with witnesses, including cops, they still do an autopsy. Why so, when there is no doubt about the cause ?

      October 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. raven

    Morning guys. bobcat2u, thereve been cases where Ive wondered that too. Maybe in this one theyre lookin for a tumor or some anomaly in his brain that would cause him to act erratically?

    October 19, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. marcia

    someone needs to fire these moron running around shooting these animals.
    perhaps someone could shoot them with a tranquilizer gun and let them see
    how fun it is! IDIOTS!!!!!!!!

    October 19, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      Been there, done that. Its much more fun blowing their heads off.

      In the words of the great Profion:
      "Let their blood rain from the sky!"

      October 19, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tankles

      Did you read that they tried tranquilizers whenever they could? Do you realize that a tranquilizer is not one size fits all? A tranq for a tiger will kill a baboon and a tiger tranq will just anger a bear, maybe make it drowsy 15 minutes later. You're expecting 38 doses of tranquilizer darts to have been measured out for each animal (not knowing the exact size of each, mind you), distributed to every police officer out there, then expect the officer to pick out the right dart when they see the 318 lb tiger or the 278 tiger, and then expect the tranquilizer to hit perfectly and make the animal fall asleep immediately, and THEN transport the animal properly to a waiting cage somewhere without it waking up?

      I'll be honest, the fact that they were able to save a handful of animals and that no humans were harmed is utterly amazing to me when you see those odds. Did the animals deserve to die? No, but neither did a child waiting for the bus when a tiger attacked, a situation avoided completely by the actions of the police department.

      October 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    (I should really know better, but I'm in the right kind of mood today.)

    Say, marcia, what's your solution?

    October 19, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. raven

    Hey marcia, what would be your suggestion? I dont like to see wanton killing either, but Id way rather it be THEM than ME .

    October 19, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. raven

    Oh, ya beat me to it, btbc..

    October 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Anomic Office Drone

    Private ownership of wild and exotic animals should be banned at the federal level. Obviously the states have proven themselves incapable of handling the situation on their own.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    silly coroners, these animals arent capable of foul play. they couldnt have shot him: they dont have opposable thumbs.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. raven

    I was just jokin,marcia. figured someone woulda been all over that one.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. missyort

    I heard that he did not have the animals in proper habitats only cages. At least they got to be free for a short while before they died.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. raven

    Free ? If running for their lives in an environment they were never meant to be in and are unfamiliar with is freedom then woo hoo!

    October 19, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. David

    All the stuff the government over regulates and sticks it's nose in... why are people allowed to won these animals in the US? Makes no sense to me.

    As far as shooting them. I would hope they are using dart guns now and shipping them off to zoos or something, but if they have to kill them for the safety of the residents, so be it.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. s kel

    Damn socialist obamae govt I have my state right to keep an have fun with animals I want too without liberial socialist govt interferance. gonna smoke my meth and drink my moonshine now. Vote tea party.

    October 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
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