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. Andy

    What a horrific story. Were any humans actually in any danger, of course they weren't. They're more at risk from gun toting cops who are loose with their firearms swinging from their hips and from neighbours who don't look after their potentially dangerous pet dog than they are from these animals who would have been terrified if anything. Of course, the cops in question – if anyone can actually be bothered enough to ask them why – will have their excuses all set and ready to go about why they HAD to shoot them, of course they will. But the fact is that had they actually brought in the correct, trained people with specific knowledge of these animals, not only would human lives have been saved but animals as well. That would have required a tiny bit of common sense though, something sorely lacking apparently.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      I live a few counties away from where this all took place and i would just like to say that the land around here is mostly farm land and wooded areas. If the police would have taken the time to call in the so called experts, it's hard to tell where these animals would have ended up. They could have possibly hidden in the woods and pounced on one of these individuals who were going out to try and tranquilize them, or even worse yet gone into one of the surrounding neighborhoods and endangered the lives of many. The government in this state should never had allowed for this individual to have these animals in the first place, given his checkered past, that is whose to blame not the local sheriffs office, whose sole responsibility is to protect the public. There was not enough time for the types of individuals to be brought in to take care of the situation. Too much could of went wrong very quickly while waiting. The best way to think about it is, quoting Jack Hanna," Wild animals can be trained, but not tamed." I can guarantee you that the last thing these deputies wanted to do that night was shoot all of these animals. And as far as no humans being in danger, we have no idea if anyone was or not, but in my opinion, even with the possibility of coming up against a 500 pound fully grown tiger, i would consider that being in great danger. I truly hate that these animals were killed, but in the best interest of the city and surrounding areas, the Sheriff had to make a decision and in this case i feel it was the right one.

      October 19, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. April

    I think this is totally disgusting, this is all America does is kill kill kill, you let people like this get away with owning such beautiful creatures and then these people screw up. Animals like this belong in the wild not in the hands of some hillbilly. You killed endangered species, endangered species that your state allowed to be in the hands of a damn criminal. You kill these animals to protect people. These animals should be protected against the state of Ohio!!!!

    October 19, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paul

    It is a reflection of the human mind at this stage of evolution, totally self-centered and selfish when it comes to the universe. If ever one day, superior aliens descend on earth and kill us like we hunted these animals, perhaps the trigger happy law-enforcement people would still have their two seconds to reflect on their actions of yesterday before they get slaughtered. This lack of respect for life is sad. Disgusting!

    October 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JohhyComments

    There was no reason to KILL KILL KILL
    Have Americans gotten to the point that ignoring the kids, college students, Elderly, poor, sick, disable is a way of life in the USA?
    That is what you get when you get a bunch of GUN hungry misfits to make a situation that showed that WE are killers by our profession...Yes, there was another way to handle this but HEY they are just Animals. Really, who are the animals??
    You all should go to Jail for Animal Abuse. They BElong on this planet too!!!

    October 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kimberli

    It is so obvious that the local police dept. and other local authorities had no definitive protocol in place should something like this happen; the excuse given for the slaughter is to cover up the fact that the cops wanted to make their jobs easier, rather than sedate them, round them up back to where they were, and have sanctuaries on call for their permanent housing. They killed some of God's nearly extinct creatures for absolutely nothing.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kamikazee

    Giraffes? Camels? Give me a break! Do you really think any of these animals had any interest in human as they are fleeing for their lives? It's called " fight or flight". They were trying to run away and find a place to hide; to survive like any human being and were totally terrified. Any human would have freaked out if hit with a tranquilizer. This was such a waste and knee-jerk reaction. Slaughter is slaughter and this was totally senseless. Yes, we are at the top of the food chain. But that means we should be able to use our brains in making decisions and not revert back to caveman mentality. What a terrible waste of life for these precious animals, some of which may not even be around 20 years from now. Good luck, human race.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. QueenofCoffee

    What is wrong with the authorities allowing somebody with a police record housing dangerous exotic animals that would not only kill the owner but also innocent children and adults and pets. These animals belong in the wild period unless with a zoo.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Doug

    I can't belive people here are trying to defend these animals. Yes it is sad that they had to be killed, however, if you had a family that lived in this area you would be screaming for these animals to be put down. These animals weigh upwards of 400lbs and take down animals 5 time their size in the wild. What makes you think that they would stop and think before killing you or your child, or even your pet? The best decision the police could have made was to kill these animals before they took any human lives. Humans always come before animals when it comes to life and death, that is the rule of society.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kimberli

      Doug, let me ask you some questions. Are sedated animals dangerous? Do you think people have enough sense not to let their pets and kids outside during a situation like this? Were these people in danger when the animals were contained before this incident? If you answer no, yes, and no consecutively to my questions, than I would think you would recant your opinion about the necessity of the killings.

      October 19, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph Gagnon

      Human beings Kill other human beings on a daily basis. Why are we not having the worlds largest people safari right now? The animals have yet to harm anyone. Tranqs should have been used first.

      October 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • April

      Hey Doug, these animals did not ask to be held captive by a criminal. It was a senseless killing and other measures could of been taken. The state of Ohio is at fault for this, not the animals.

      October 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlie FDC

      Folks, understanding that the state was wrong for allowing this guy to have the animals in the first place, since there was no one in the immediate vicinity with tranks available, what did you want the cops to do, yell 'BOO' at the tigers?

      October 19, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      No, a tranquilized animal is not dangerous. As for your second question; how could the police have known that every single child and animal was indoors at the time they came face to face with a wild tiger? The answer: They could not have known. With no tranquilizers readily available (and if there were im sure they weren't strong enough to bring down a full grown lion or tiger) the police had no choice but the shoot and kill the animals. I know these animals didnt ask to be held captive but it happens, that's the world we live in today. And if they happen to escape they are a threat to human lives and that threat needs to be eliminated as quickly as possible. It is sad that it had to happen this way, but it HAD to happen this way. As far as your third question goes, that has no relevance to anything in this article or anything said in these comments. So I won't comment on that. Its sad that people think this could have been done a different way. After a couple of hours while the police searched for a tranquilizer big enough for these animals the tiger wouldn't have thought twice about eating the first 6 year old it found. Get in touch with reality and think about what could have happened if these animals were not shot dead.

      October 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Marissa Kanners

    This is absolutely horrifying! This is a senseless killing of animals that shouldn't have been caged at someone's house in Ohio. This is no one's fault except Ohio state as well as any other state allowing a man who was convicted of owning firearms and previous animal abuse to keep these animals. I don't even feel this is the owners fault. Ohio it's your fault these animals died and people were at risk! I hope you sleep well at night with more than 50 killings of innocent and probably abused animals on your shoulder!

    October 19, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Holly

    What a disgrace. I am outraged and disgusted that Zanesville took the lives of these exotic animals after they allowed a civilian to house them. Shame on Zanesville and Ohio, you should be embarrassed. These innocent animals did nothing but fall victim to selfish human nature. Your actions were embarrassing and sad.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bryan T

    A massacre. Whoever oversaw this situation needs to be reprimanded.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kimberli

      Reprimanded? Whoever it is should be fired, at least demonted.

      October 19, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nikki

    We humans our selfish mindless monsters. We killed these animals because it was the easy way out. Way to go Zanesville Ohio. What a waste of life and some almost already extinct. Hang your head in shame as your actions are truly inconceivable and pathetic.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rick

    it is estimated that there are more than 20,000 tigers in captivity around the world; contrast that with the fact that there may be fewer than 5,000 in the wild. Most of the tigers in captivity are "mutts" and of uncertain heritage; they are not suitable for zoos which are attempting to breed purebred cats only (e.g., Amur, Bengal, etc.); for that reason, it is unlikely that any zoo in the U.S. would have accepting the tigers. However, they could have possible been accepted by a facility like the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado. Regarding the authorities: they conducted themselves with very little dignity indeed. Many more of these animals could have been saved but it was strictly a "shoot first" "ask no questions" strategy. You can imagine the excitement of all these "Barney Fife's" getting to load up their bullets and finally kill something dead.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Charlie FDC

    You are all hilarious. Do any of you have trank guns ready to deal with these types of issues? You are all the same people who believe child rapists and mass murderers can be rehabilitated and sent back into society. If a lion or tiger DID escape the compound and disappeared, it would just try to survive using natural instincts; meaning after three days without food, the first ten-year-old kid walking by would be breakfast. I pity the human race, especially if populated by people as out of touch with reality as all of you seem to be.

    October 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. 11BravoPapa

    Lol it's funny reading civilians comment about things they are so clueless about such as the max effective range of a tranquilizer round. They made the decision in killing these feral animals. It sucks but it had to be done. Besides i'd kill 100 tigers if it was to save the life of one child

    October 19, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlie FDC

      It is funny, but also sad. Sometimes I wish for end times to cull the herd so to speak. Too many morons in the world.

      October 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      You can lol all you want Papa, but children are a dime a dozen. Most of them grow up to be selfish and shortsighted like you. Bengal tigers are endangered and will probably go extinct. I'd rather 100 children were killed than one tiger.

      October 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
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