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. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    No wounds, Bimbo.
    I was busy this afternoon.

    October 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Grey wolf and monkey. It would make a good story if they were together, hiding out, helping each other. Foraging for food together, having some laughs, sharing their feelings, growing together as people – or critters. Maybe Disney could make it into a movie.

    I'm still laughing at the fact that they zeroed in on Joey, but I got out unscathed. I was the bad boy there.

    October 19, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. me

    They say 2 animals are still missing. I wonder where these 2 deputies are? I hope they find and punish these animal murderers.

    October 19, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • you

      Those deputies are true American heroes. They fought the very real and very dangerous foreign zoological menace that has been tearing at the very fabric of our nation. I for one am very proud to call myself an American patriot today. If those animals don't like it, they are free to leave, any time. My tax dollars are better spent supporting American animals.

      October 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. raven

    Thats I think m.s. : all the people complainin should go round up all the cute,cuddly carnivorous (probably hungry )animals. Do they think you can CHARM these predators back into cages ?

    October 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    Disney presents: 'Grey Wolf and Monkey'...the tender love story of an elderly wolf, and the love of his life, Monkey, but alas, it wasn't in th fates.

    Coming soon to a theater near you.

    October 19, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Animal"

    I'm wild. I'm an animal. And I got away. I got me and my laptop up a tree, slingin poop on the people shooting at me.

    October 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Animal"

    Hot damn...they hit the battery pack...gotta go..E..e..e..e..e..e! :O

    October 19, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Bimbo the Birthday Clown:
    Yes, they're gunning for me now, and you got away–annnnd, I saw what you wrote about puppies and smelly stuff. I have almost total recall...
    So, Bimbo, one day down the road, your shipload of Scheisserei will come in, too.

    October 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bobcat2u

    Thank you banasy for the education on autopsies. But it still doesn't make sense to me why when a person is shot that the person who is shot has the autopsy done on them to see what killed them.

    October 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Frank

    People of the United States of America and Ohio,
    The local government screwed up by allowing Thompson to operate.
    He was a Felon and a crazy SOB.Now we have alot of Dead Exotic Aminals because the local government did not do the right thing.Plus anytime a Sheriffs Department has a real excuse to shoot off their weapons you know the animals do not stand a chance.

    October 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lrrrrrrrr

      People of Earth. do not listen to Frank.

      October 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. shula

    I've read several reports from Ohio news stations that say the monkey that is still loose is rabid. CNN, is this info correct?

    October 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bobcat2u

    Oh no !!! Monkey rabies. So this is how it all begins. The rise of the planet of the apes.

    October 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jeff

    I think it's a sad situation all around and am disappointed that some responders don't feel compassion for the dead animals, which are not at fault here. I doubt if alternatives were explored. What drives decision-making every emergency situation is the sense of urgency real or imagined. Of course the response will be "people are more important than animals". We have 7 billion of the former and counting.

    October 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      Read the story. They've tried tranquilizing. They've taken several animals alive and are going to transfer them to Columbus Zoo. They are using lethal force in cases where they think people are in danger. With that in mind, what alternatives do you have in mind, exactly?

      October 19, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. gung hoe

    People of ohio beware monkeys love human meat

    October 19, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    Bobcat2u:
    In this particular case, I suspect it was to match the bullet to the gun, just to make sure it *was* suicide.
    How else would they do that, except without an autopsy?

    October 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
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