Overheard on CNN.com: Disgust over animal killings
After exotic animals were released from their cages, authorities in Eastern Ohio had to respond to a dangerous situation.
October 19th, 2011
12:42 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Disgust over animal killings

Comment of the morning:

“Terribly sad in every way. I'm trying to convince myself these magnificent animals are maybe better off than new lives in different cages. Very upsetting.” - StaciBinore

Eastern Ohio reacts to loose, dangerous animals

Officials say Terry Thompson, 62, released nearly 50 exotic animals from his preserve in Ohio — including lions and bears — before dying from a self-inflicted wound. Most of the escaped animals were put down, and authorities are still looking for the few that haven’t been accounted for.

The story shocked and upset many CNN.com readers who wanted to know why the animals hadn’t been tranquilized rather than shot. Others wanted to know how Thompson, who had recently been released from prison for possessing illegal firearms, had been allowed to own so many exotic animals.

intheaspens said, “How sad that the animals have to suffer because of one stupid human.”

reticular responded, “It isn't because of just one stupid human; this guy wouldn't have been able to do this in most other states. The Ohio legislature deserves most of the blame for this. They've condoned this kind of stupidity for decades.”

kscanuck called it “A perfect example of why private ownership of these type of wild animals should be illegal everywhere. They are not pets. What a sad situation.”

Mother73 said, “So nobody is prepared to trap them or sedate them? Let's just run out and kill some unruly camels! Sheesh. And people say Texas is backwards.”

DarkStarWNY responded, “Let's set a lion loose next to your house and then you can talk about trapping it rather then killing it.”

MadCityBabe said, “It's a terrible shame that some of these animals are put down simply because they were caged at one point and then set free; they are only following their natural instincts. Wild/exotic animals should NEVER be caged or kept as pets. It serves no purpose and is unfair to the creatures. SHAME!”

Templars83 responded, “Agreed. This is awful and there apparently is not an Ohio Wildlife and Preservation department that actually functions.”

C0yolxauhqui said, “ 'Exotic Animal Farms' like this should not be permitted. It amounts to animal cruelty and poses serious threats to public safety, obviously. I can't believe places like this even exist in the United States.

Ghsty9 responded, “Same goes for zoos.”

joe0339 said, “For all you people who say ‘why shoot them and not tranquilize them?’ Obviously you do not live in Muskingham County and do not have children. Put yourself in that situation before you go ‘PETA’ on somebody.”

kstr13 asked, “What happens when they kill an endangered animal like the white tiger? Is there no punishment that comes out of that? They’re almost extinct; the Columbus Zoo got fined a huge amount for accidently killing a Giraffe and a Tiger. Does this action not deserve any punishment? In my opinion it does!”

MoeHammit responded, “Read the article. HUMAN safety comes first regardless of the status of the animal.”

DarkenedDan said, “Bengal Tigers are an endangered species, so wouldn't killing one be a federal or international crime? Just curious.”

ChuckSand said, “Here's the deal tree huggers. These animals are all large predators that in their natural environment kill things much bigger than humans. Lions and tigers weigh 400lbs, Grizzlies weigh 900lbs and wolves hunt in packs. So how do you control these animals before they kill someone? Well a tranquilizer dart is accurate to about 40yds, a rifle is accurate to well over 300 yds. Who wants to get within 40yds of one of these animals, much less in the dark? Get real. If someone was killed, I know you would be the same person whining that the public officials weren’t doing enough to protect the public.”

blueparadise said, “All of you people moaning about 'innocent animals being killed' probably just finished wolfing down a Bacon Egg and Cheese McMuffin. You probably don't think twice about all the animals you eat throughout the day.”

Rizengrom responded, “Do you know the difference between consumption products and exotic animals/endangered species? You don't go to jail or get fined for killing or eating chicken!”

Do your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (264 Responses)
  1. quinten jones

    awful!!!!!!!!!!!!that was not needed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:[

    October 25, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cakepopdiva1

    I bet those animals werent even agreesive ! and what the neighbors didnt see any of those animals before this happened , shows you how much people feel sorry for the animals or the safety of their familes! If i knew bears and tigers where living even remotely near my children i would of been called aspca ! But guarenteed THOSE police acted not because they were threatened , or scared just because they knew it can be done , meaning taking them down , they could of used tranqulizers , but their first impulse was to kill , No other way of putting it !

    October 26, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • boredhighschoolstudent

      They were aggressive... They were let out of their cage, began to run around and even quote- "started to attack and kill each other" and were "So close it was sometimes hand-to-hand combat" when the police arrived. One officer managed to somehow get a tranquilizer gun. He shot a leopard, I believe, and it quote- "went crazy and killed a baboon.' Tranquilizers don't work the way you think they do; its not like in the hunting games. When you shoot an animal, it doesn't drop peacefully to the ground sleeping. It can take up to 10 minutes for a 400lb animal to pass out. If you shoot it more than once, it will go down quicker, sure, but it can be fatal; thus defeating the purpose of the tranquilizer. So, a quote 'enraged' tiger (18 of them in fact, and not to mention bears, lions, and wolves) tearing around suburbia for ten minutes, assuming the tranquilizer works at all? What do you think will happen if they come by people walking down the street? Or a playground? Or the market? This was a very real possibility- the animals were in no way confined and were not too terribly far away from civilization. One animal (I think it was a lion) got hit by a car. What if someone was walking along the road then? What if there had been a school nearby? I agree with a lot of what you are saying - but deadly force was, sadly, needed. Don't get me wrong- it's awful... but better to see 50 dead animals than 50 dead kindergartens. The situation was not handled perfectly, I agree, but it wasn't handled badly. Not one person was killed... and that right there is an amazing victory. They did manage to subdue 3 animals, I think... Some sort of big cat, some sort of monkey and I think something else,( as you can see, I don't know/remember all the particulars.) They are going to some sort of rehabilitation center, last I heard. The neighbors knew about it - but this zoo was legal in the state of Ohio, which I think is disturbing and sickly wrong. Hopefully, this will lead to banning people from owning exotic animals, especially people who love big cats or bears or wolves or whatever until they 'get big and can't handle them.' (Well what did you think would happen, you idiot...)

      November 4, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tom

    Not sure how people keep thinking that a small police department had the capability to safely capture 50 exotic predators at 3 in the morning in the rain. Not exactly like they had tiger nets and tranquilizer guns (which don't operate anything remotely like they do in fiction) to take down tigers. This was an extremely unusual situation that the authorities were not equipped or trained to handle in any other way then they did. Yeah it sucks, the sheriff pretty much said so himself, but at the end of the day there was nothing else they could do.

    People really need to understand that there will often be a deficiency between what we want and what is viable.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mary Gallegos

    Miss Brook feels that CNN needs to question the ddecision made on the exotic animals that were kept from being piccked up the widow of a disturbed man that commited suicied and left all these animals at the mercy of the law enforcement officers that met the required target pratice.. This is sad enough! I am so relieved that the agency stepped in and would not allow the woman to take them back..for what?...more abuse and neglect? I applause the Ohio zoo for providing these animals care and protection. Brook, do we need to question this any further?

    October 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. katy Heys

    Tranquilizing animals isn't as easy as some think. Some animals react very aggressively at first and they are certainly not tranquilized immediately. And it isn't easy to seat the needle, particularly by cops who are not vets and do not do this for a living. They did what they had to do. The person to blame is the bas tard who let them out. Not the police who had the terrible duty to protect the citizens.

    October 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Natali

    Very horrid for me!!!!! I can't believe they would take a life from such a magnificent creature! I thought they would only stun them and then put them in a temporary place they could stay until they found a suitable habitat for them... 🙁

    October 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Becca

    White tigers aren't a different species. They are a mutation of the Bengal tiger. Look it up. But I do agree with both points of view. The sherries did the right thing. But we shouldn't allow this at all. And BlueParadise: I'm a vegetarian.

    February 27, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
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