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. Jack McCray

    Sounds like a bunch of gun ho Americans out on an exotic animal hunt, disgusting.

    October 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack A.

      Put yourself in the officer's shoes. You're out in the middle of the night, pitch black, with exotic dangerous animals around you. You have a gun on your belt. Suddenly a lion or a bear comes out of the bushes. This animals is looking at you as food, because it's a big predator. Catching and eating you is child's play for that beast. Now what are you gonna do? Are you going to book it back to the squad and try to outrun the thing (which would be impossible) in hopes that you can find somebody with a tranq gun to load the gun and shoot it before the beast kills anyone? Or are you going to pull your gun out and shoot it? To most people i would assume this is a no-brainer, shoot the darn thing. Anyone that wouldn't try to save their lives and others by choosing to shoot it and instead risking death and other's lives in a very futile attempt to "save" one animal is just stupid. Do you have children? Because if you did, would you want a dead officer and a dangerous animal with a new taste for blood running around? I don't think so. Taking an animal's life to save many humans is ethical. I do believe it's a shame for the beast to die, but rather the beast than somebody's kid.

      October 19, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph Gagnon

      They were rolling around with Shotguns and Night- Vision. This was never a case of a animal jumping out at a cop or startling anyone. People keep saying what if your kid was wandering around... HELLO why would your kid be walking around at night? Be honest the wrong call was made period.

      October 19, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack A.

      They just wanted to keep people safe, not hunt them for fun. It was a shame to kill the animals, but human lives come first. And by the way, the are a lot of thing a kid could be doing at night. They could walk over to a neighbor or friend's house, the could be taking out the trash, and the could be playing in their backyard. I know my kids do that. If you would want to kill yourself to attempt to save a dangerous animal, then go right ahead. You "animal's first" people likely weren't even there, if you were you would probably be scared senseless if you had lions in your backyard. If you had lions and tigers and bears running around your neighborhood, you wouldn't be thinking "save the animals", you would be thinking "get them the heck out of here." If it was possible, I do think they should have used tranquilizers, but keeping the public safe is the main priority and no risks can be taken in a situation like this. Anyway, if the animals are endangered, then why the heck can private owners possess them anyway. You animal support people are yelling at the officers that are just protecting the public, not the animal rights violations in possessing endangered and dangerous species, the animals should have been in proper care to begin with.

      October 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cathleen.

    This is a tragedy and somthing could have been done to avert this wasteful slautghter of wild animals whose only fault was that they were kept caged and neglected by this guy THe Govenor of Ohio did not extend the laws governing the keeping of wild animals. THe Govenor needs to be recallled. The people of Ohio voted for this man and they shopuld take responsibility also. Its time the people of this country stop electing politicians that can't govern and only care about getting elected. THat goes for Democrats and Republicans . When we don't care for the safety and humkane care for animals in a society then that sas somthing about the society its self.

    October 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff

    These animals should not have been slaughtered just because of the states mistake and allowing this nonsense to begin with, I see how they forgot to mention the Giraffe that got filled in with an assault rifle, YES a DAMN GIRAFFE got massacred. One officer was quoted as saying this after shooting an animal with a tranq, "The animal went wild and crazy" then proceeded to find and kill the drugged animal.

    I hate the people who are like, "blah, blah, blah you wouldnt be saying tranquilize the animals if they were near your house and your family" how DO you know what I would do, dont put words into the mouths of others.

    October 19, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mary in Clinton Township MI

    So very sad for the poor helpless animals. Just imagine how frightened they were running out of their familiar surroundings and being chased by gun carrying deputies just waiting to shoot. Wasn't there a more humane way of dealing with this situation to protect them ? I am so sorry our society has such total disregard for a living breathing helpless animal. The man who kept them should have been reported to the police long ago, surely someone knew he had these animals , couldn't someone have stepped up to the plate in their defense? Very sad day.

    October 19, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hugh

    Last I checked we're the top of the food chain, unless there are wild animals running loose! Just keep donating your money to terrorist organizations like PETA, they too feel animals lives are more important than humans.
    As for those of you who say don't put words in my mouth, guess what I am, they are animals, not humans and running loose and therefore need to be eliminated! I'm not saying tranquilize I'm saying to shoot to kill, grill 'em and let's eat!!!!

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

      RIGHT! MONKEYS 1st.

      October 19, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • caterpillar

      God didn't create animals for us to massacre you dumb-hunter hick!!! By the way, the human population is about to reach 7 billion; I see nothing wrong with an animal trying to attempt to keep the destructive, selfish human population in check!!!!! 2012 IS COMING!!! HOPEFULLY YOU'LL BE GOING!!!!

      October 20, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • hugh

      Hey caterpillar! You're right god didn't create animals for us to massacre because god is a fictional character that helps the weak-minded, misguided, delusional bring some sense of meaning to their sorry, pathetic lives. As for your concern with the growing population, be a man, do your part and plesae don't let anyone in your family procreate. Just an f.y.i, I'm an actaury with a masters in mathematics, not a "dumb-hunter hick" as you so eloquently penned. Do yourself a favor, put down your bible, pull up your big boy pants, crawl out of your mommy's basement and come join the real world or better yet wander into a cage with wild animals and let them help keep our population in check.

      P.S.
      Your reference to 2012 is humerous

      October 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bobcat2u

    It is so sad that because of the incompetence of one man that all these beautiful animals had to be put down. Maybe now the government will do something about private individuals being able to operate wildlife refuges.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lisa

    This was senseless. The authorities should habve done a a better job in capturing these animals. Some of them are on the endangered species list and were killed senselessly. How would you like to be let out of a cage into a place where there is no food, or shelter and you are just as scared of humans as they are of you. This was very sad and outrageous to hear about. Also, if the county and state had done a better job on keeping an eye on this individual these animals would not have been in this situation in the first place.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark P,

    Difficult times call for difficult, but quick decisions. The authorities acted accordingly, and acted in the best interest of the public. Instead of focusing on blame, the more glaring issue is the need for a complete reform/overhaul of legislature regarding exotic animal issues. A very sad day for Ohio, but much can be learned, and there is seemingly a very clear answer to this controversial issue...

    October 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sandra LeVin

    Too sad. Not the animals fault. What lives – kept in cages, released by some maniac and shot. Awful.

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

    These animals were being held in an unsuitable situation they should never have been in. Something was wrong with the owner: jail time and suicide. But worst is the reaction of the community and local govt. What a bunch of cowards and ignoramouses. People should not be allowed to own exotic animals, esp large potentially dangerous ones. But the locals ignored that. The owner was allowed to indulge his fantasies, the govt ignored it, and the locals didnt do anything to change it. Now, a horrible act has been committed. Humans are so arrogant. So full of how important they are, and they are not. These animals, many endangered of disappearing forever, were just gunned down like dirty criminals. Sorry, but the animals were superior to the humans, as usual, and human jealousy, and inferiority caused them to murder these creatures who had more integrity than any of the jerks involved in the massacre. We need to show respect for the other forms of life on the planet and stop thinking we have the right to wipe it out according to our egotistical desires. Humans think they can get by with it, but it will end up costing them more than they can imagine.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bill Common

    17 lions (on the decline) , 18 Tigers (endangered species), and bears OH MY! Local police were not equipped to deal with this. Professionals trained at rescuing and sedating these types of rare animals should have been summoned from around the globe at any cost to save these unfortunate animals from slaughter. It's really tragic local police responded the onyy way they could by killing them.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack A.

      Do you really think that experts could have "summoned" from around the globe and gotten there in time for the animals not to have moved a county over or killed anybody? Get real, the only option was a quick, but sad, yet ultimately appropriate and sufficient response to the immediate threat with the options they had on hand.

      October 19, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Julie

    This article quotes the Zanesville mayor as saying that authorities were trying to use tranquilizers whenever possible. By my count, 49 innocent animals are dead and 6 are in a zoo. So tranquilizers were NOT possible 89% of the time? I'm sure there were were incidents of sheriffs being in volatile situations and had no choice in order to protect their own lives, but I can't believe that was the case in all 49. Shame on the farmer and shame on the Ohio authorities for showing almost as little respect for the animals as the farmer did. What a tragedy.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tish

    I don't like the idea of animals held in captivity but I must say that I am so thankful that the public was warned to keep themselves safe. I am a victim of a terrible tragedy so I will put my words into the mouths of others. We lived next to a zoo that kept wild animals and we were not warned that an African lion had escaped. The owners were hoping to catch it without notifying the authorities as they did not want to encounter any legal problems. Had we been warned that a lion was on the loose my sister and I would have never been allowed to leave our home, my beautiful sister would have lived longer than eight years and I would never have witnessed her death and be haunted all these years. These zoos need to have strict rules and their owners need to be accountable and monitored. I know first hand what I am talking about. If you have a zoo, a wild animal escapes you just may have to shoot them because unfortunately an innocent will get hurt.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack A.

      I feel you. I am sorry for your loss.

      October 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CJ

    This small town in Ohio was not prepared to deal with these type of animals running loose. They had to be killed. 18 Tigers 17 Lions the Police Dept in this town dont have the tranquilizers for this kind of incident.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. john

    listen whoever is saying that these animals should have been kill and this and that is completely wrong, These animals have been here much longer than we have and deserve a spot on this earth unlike so of us (many posting on here). The world needs to be depopulated on humans not animals. idiots

    October 19, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11