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. gung hoe

    Hi guys long time no talky

    October 19, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ gung hoe:
    I'll take your word for it about monkeys' tastes in meat, but I wonder how you learned that.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bobcat2u

    Ok. I stand (well, in this case, sit) corrected. Since I can't seem to sway from your defense, FINE, I will no longer pursue this line of questioning. LOL

    October 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ BImbo:
    They just haven't tried talking to the animals yet.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gung hoe

    Well if the weather in ohio is like mich then they had a good day for it

    October 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. animal professional

    Baboons had to be shot? Why?

    There were also giraffes, peaceable vegetarians. Were they gunned down in cold blood, too?

    How many more exotic animal tragedies does Ohio need before it passes legislation to protect innocent exotic animals from ego-driven crazies, and .. as we learned today ... from badge wearing, take no prisoner (including leaf-eating giraffes) assault rifle-toting Barney Fifes?

    It's a toss-up which is worse; the hoarder, or the way the escape was handled.

    If mass slaughter is the best response Ohio's public servants have to a forseeable emergency situation, rinky-dink zoos and private exotic collectors need to be shut down. These animals belong in their natural habitat, which humans need to stop screwing with so they can live in peace.

    This is a tragedy; a preventable one had law enforcement done its job and shut this hoarder down and placed the animals in appropriate sanctuaries before he flew over the cuckoo's nest. So sad.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Db

      Here here AP

      October 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. s kel

    I hope the monkey shoots back.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Why is CNN blocking my posts??

    Hey Communist News Network, how come you're not posting my comments????

    October 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gung hoe

    @jif honest seen it on one of those nat geo shows it showed where monkeys will attack humans and even eat members of different tribes of monkeys

    October 19, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Awww, bobcat2u, you asked, I answred. :* Lmao!

    October 19, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    Meant *answered*. Hard to spell check while driving in the rain at night.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      And drunk of course.

      October 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. gung hoe

    I hope the wolf gets a sherrif for dinner

    October 19, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bobcat2u

    @s kel
    Monkeys like to fling poo. Maybe they can blind the hunters.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    Hey, gung hoe. How are you?

    S kel, you naughty boy.
    You deserve a span king for that.
    Get your wife on that, will you?

    October 19, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    What happened to Edema?

    October 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
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