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. RUFFNUTT (kcmo resident and smoker of fine purple kush)

    i hope they dont let the meat go to waste... a tiger sandwhich would be yummy

    October 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ gung hoe:
    A bunch of monkeys against me? Hunting me?
    I just made up my mind that I'd win.
    NRA style.

    October 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bbuss

    It's a total disgrace that they shot and killed 18 Begal Tigers. I can't wait to hear a justification for that!

    October 19, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      They're dangerous.

      Your wait is over.

      October 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Callmeishmael

      In response to Bimbo:
      Tiger mauls a group of unsuspecting people to death. Another tiger in response: "Gee, why'd ya do that??" "Man, you have any idea how dangerous those humans can be? Turn on the news sometime."

      October 19, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      @ Callmeishmael, I actually agree with you. I wasn't making a moral judgement about killing the animals, just being practical. I don't think they should have been captive in the first place.

      October 19, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      i cant believe they shot the cincinnati bengals, good thing Palmer plays for the radiers

      October 19, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. wolf

    sheriff matt Lut better have his depuy on a leash or in him in a cage better yet in a jail sell

    October 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown


      October 19, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      I took the liberty of filtering your post through several languages on Google translate, then back into English, and it said:

      "The site is a rope or abrasive gray cage is still good fisherman selling his Depuy"

      Is that what you meant?

      October 19, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Doesn't jordan scene live in Ohio?
    What has he said about this?

    October 19, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gung hoe

    Ya there justification in killing them 18 tIgers,is theyre indian fans

    October 19, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bobcat2u

    That's funny gung hoe.

    October 19, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Hi, guys.

    'Chad' and 'Edina' are our two friends who like to take issue with me.
    Not sure where edema went.

    @gung hoe:
    Ha! Good one.

    October 19, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Db

    I have a really hard time believing that the officers tried to tranquilize all of these animals before shooting them dead. Sounds to me like most of these animals were shot on sight without the courtesy of being tranquilized. I feel it was not handled as well as it could have been. I'm sorry. I'm not unpatriotic or unsupportive of law enforcement and I'm not a PETA member. Instead of law enforcement hunting these animals with guns, more animal handlers and large animal vets should have been called in. These animals are dangerous and unpredictable but they did nothing wrong. They were released into very unfamiliar territory and acted on instinct. Nobody was harmed. I realize fast-acting was a factor in that, but their means of taking care of the situation is disturbing. More SHOULD have been done to avoid senseless killing. State law should have been on this way before this man was able to obtain so many exotic animals. Absolutely disgusting. Some of the animals that were destroyed are endangered and more should have been done to save them. Absolutely appalled with how this man came to obtain, cage, and abuse these animals without law enforcement intervening. They should be ashamed.

    October 19, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    Lol!! and one headlight .

    October 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. raven

    And flat tire .

    October 19, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio)"Right Wing Baboon"

    I live in the new Africa..."Afrio".

    October 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio)"Right Wing Baboon"

    Oh hey yeah. Cage the sheriff, and let the monkey run Muskingum County.....just kidding Sheriff Lutz.

    October 19, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jess

    Too bad he killed himself before someone could "humanely" put him down like the poor animals he screwed over. The only loss in this story is the critters he doomed.

    If animal hoarders, from puppy mills to whack-jobs like this guy, can't help themselves, we need better regulations to keep a travesty like this from happening again.

    October 19, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. CAT LOVER (Susie Adams)

    I am very outraged that all those officers brutally murdered all those totally innocent animals!! They had no right to do that! All those officers involved in shooting and killing all those endangered animals need to be fired from their jobs and punished for their crimes against nature!!

    October 19, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
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