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. Wanda Walb-Gower

    As an animal lover, I was hearbroken and sickened by the horrible photos of those poor animals killed by unfeeling, trigger-happy morons known as cops. There was no need for this senseless killing. Why is killing animals always the answer.? You can bet your bottom dollar those cops enjoyed murdering all those beautiful animals. I read where some of them even wanted to take the carcasses home! Nice. Why is it a human being can blow away 13 or more people,and not get killed, but let an animal roam too close to a town or city and right away-lets kill it. Mankind is the worst predator there is. Someday there will be no more animals-period. Remember, extinct is forever

    October 20, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • mark boisselier

      Jack Hanna did not have a problem with those actions.1)The officers did not know if there were any survivors,they did see the owners corpse,so they had no idea if .2)Long history of crimes and abuse there,so the animals were not in their natural habitat or "mind frame"3)These animals were hunt at night,so time was short for them to round them.Most were still on the property.4)The officers protect and serve people,that comes first.5)If the animals killed a child,you all would be whining about that.

      October 21, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • hilo, HI

      Jack, why weren't these local cops better able to protect and serve both the public AND these animals. Where's preemptive strategy? They were Well Aware of this problem man and his exotic collection. Whether or not this kill was 100% necessary remains to be seen. Meanwhile, why didn't they have tranquilizers & zoo handlers in the loop and on the ready in case this did happen -as there was every indication it well could.

      October 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      Simple answer Wanda.. at the end of the day, human life has to come first. Protecting the public (people) is priority one for the police force. The assumptions that they could somehow just round these animals up at 3am, in the dark, with minimal risk is absurd at best; dangerous at worse. I would rather see every animal put down than a single human mauled to death from one of them.

      October 24, 2011 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Normalacy Bias

      I Know huh. If you can hit an animal with a bullet., it Stands to reason, you can hit it with a fast acting tranguilizer

      October 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mark de Wet

    Humans ALWAYS think they are superior to Nature when in reality they are afraid of and threatened by Nature which is why they kill animals at the drop of a hat. Man is NO match for a 300lb animal, so we take pleasure in killing them for sport, or "for public safety". Again and again we forget that animals were on this planet in one form or another LONG before the first humanoids, so we are invaders of THEIR territory, but we are so arrogant that we get upset when, like polar bears sometimes do for example, "wander into human territory". Never mind that we are encroaching on their space with alarming speed.

    October 21, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Neylton

    These animals get slaughtered by cops and we see no outrage from the media. How sad. What kind of world are we living on ?

    October 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whirlygig789

      Give me a break. The cops did not just go out and slaughter innocent animals. It was a very unusual situation with many outcomes that were potentially dangerous. If you think a rural police office has the man power to tranq, transport, and house 50 animals – many of which weighed well over 200 pounds – then you just aren't using your brain. I love animals, too. But sometimes you have to think sensibly. Besides, I believe you would have been more outraged if one of these animals had decided to make a child waiting on the school bus it's breakfast.

      October 21, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • boredhighschoolstudent

      No outrage from the media? Really? Uh... did you read the article?

      November 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. beyeenotjudged

    This needs to be investigated and shared with the public. The police and neighbors harrassed this poor guy into committing sucidie. I have yet to find anyone with compassion for the owner ... let alone anyone demanding an investigation.

    October 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      The owner released these animals – basically sentencing them to their deaths. If any of these animals had killed a human, he would have been guilty of manslaughter as well. The owner committing suicide? – Good riddance!

      October 24, 2011 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. Aaron

    Well being from northwest Ohio I was sad to hear about this incident. They were beautiful creatures and all but like others have said, if you don't live in a rural Ohio county (especially Muskingham) then you have no idea what situation this is. Especially in the dark, are you kidding me? They are obviously adapted to the weather and would have more than enough room to hide. And plus how easily accessible do you think tranq darts strong enough to take down lions, tigers, and grizzlies are?

    Plus...If Jack Hanna says kill 'em, you kill 'em.

    October 21, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |

    All I could do was cry when I heard of all the murders in Ohio and it was muder. Two the one who ask about food.I DO NOT EAT MEAT and to the one that ask how I would like them next door to me and my family I WOULD My grand daughter has been raised with my two Hybred Wolves and I pity the person who trys to hurt her, mine are in the house and even sleeps with us. They have always been treated as a wolf.All those people should be ashamed they could have saved them.

    October 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |

      I forgot I am called wolfermom.

      October 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Stephen

    If there had been a threat from a toxic chemical spill, the area would have been evacuated post- hast, What is really evident here is the lack of real value shopping centre man (like piltdown man, only different) places on the naaatural world, as he races about doing what he considers impoortant in his meaningless life.

    October 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Whirlygig789

    I am absolutely appalled at all the negative comments here, accusing the cops of killing these animals for fun. And here lies the problem with this country: the inability of most people to use their brain. It was an unprecedented, dangerous situation. Tranquillizer darts, contrary to what you may see in the movies, are not readily accessible, especially in large numbers. And they don't always work right away, allowing the animal to wander off, possible to wake up later and still roam free.
    I agree that this man should not have been allowed to have these animals. But I don't think you can get mad at the cops for trying to quickly and efficiently end a situation that no one was prepared for. I, too, felt horrible when I saw the images of the animal carcasses but I also realized that it was what had to be done.

    October 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Donald McEver

    I think this was a terrible tragedy, but I know the law enforcement of the area did the right thing. I advocated a rescue 5 years ago of a panther that escaped from an area zoo. This animal mauled a child who lost the use of her arm for life and killed several pets before being hit by a car. Lions and tigers can be many times more cunning and vicious. A child is a meal, and thats that, no malise or meaness, just food. When these animals run as they will (they are scared and confused) there is no assurance that they can be stopped, even with a rifle. If the proper darts were available in the patrol cars or at least on hand at the station it woul have been a little different. This animal collection was in the community and not a surprise to anyone. Lack of community preperation for an escape is the only area of critisism of officials, but hindsight is 20/20. Overall the officials should be thanked for what they did. We can all sit comfortably in our spaces and think of how we would do it better but in the situation we might have gotten someone killed through delayed action. The laws concerning exotic and dangerous animals should restict private ownership unless the owner pays for local government to partner in the control of the stock. Then consideration should be given to the time the owner might not be able to care for these creatures, such as in the case of snakes and lizzards that get turned loose in the wild.

    October 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tula

    The wild animal situation in Ohio this week was a real tragedy, but sadly, we're not surprised to hear about it in Toronto. Go to any park in Toronto and you'll meet people with dogs... from Ohio. Why? Because it seems that people in Ohio don't care too much about animals. Transport trucks arrive daily in Toronto with dogs from your shelters – I have one of your dogs myself. They arrive needing veterinary attention and all of them have to be spayed or neutered. We're happy to be providing good homes to your cast-off pets because we'd rather adopt them in Toronto than the alternative, which is that they are killed in your animal pounds in Ohio. Killing animals seems to be part of your culture in Ohio. Too bad we couldn't have adopted the wild animals from the zoo before the poor owner took his own life.

    October 22, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Yuan Yi Peng (袁毅鹏)

    [ SOS ] Complaint about Human Rights Violations by IBM China on Centennial

    Please Google:

    Tragedy of Labor Rights Repression in IBM China
    How Much IBM Can Get Away with is the Responsibility of the Media
    IBM detained mother of ex-employee on the day of centennials

    October 23, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. James

    I too am a little unsettled about the whole thing. Seems like there could have been some of them saved instead of the wholesale slaughter of all of them. I realise there had to be an immediate response but I wish I knew more facts than the press has printed. Seems like such a waste and not their fault.

    October 23, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. n0ttyb0y

    These really shouldn't be states-rights. To see such a beautiful creature die because of one inane individual is saddening. There should really be national laws against holding these animals in such an environment.

    Also, vegetarian here.

    October 24, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. Danko Ramone

    It would seem to me, if the zoo offered help, it should have been taken. Most certainly SOME of those animals did not need to die. I can understand the risk from a grizzly, or from a tiger...but a giraffe? It seems the cops decided they had a chance t have thier own safari hunt, and they made sure they got it.

    October 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. quinten jones

    awful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!thiat was not needed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
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