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. Sheogre

    The point here is not that the authorities were not prepared. When a wild animal like the tiger mentioned in that article is ALREADY agitated, due to being in unfamiliar surroundings, strange people pretty much chasing after it, it is going to take more than a traquilizer to take care of it. In fact in situations like that, a tranquilizer could kill them. If you read the article, you will see what happened. It didn't work, because the tiger was so very agitated, and they ended up having to put the tiger down anyway. Tranquilizers are NOT always the answer.
    Now on the other side of things, someone should have been monitoring the situation, and this man should not have been allowed to have so many animals all alone, for pretty much no reason. Its just awful that the animals have to suffer...not only is the owner to blame, but the legislature that allowed him to do this. If you are going to be in the exotic animal industry, you better know your limits, limits should be set by the goverment, and there better be a reason, not just for the fun of it!

    October 19, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • grasshopper

      Yes, tranquilizers alone are not sufficient. You may have to shoot them with a tranquilizer dart, but first try reading to them from a typical CNN comments section. I know that will sometimes put me right to sleep.

      October 20, 2011 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. Kevin Thomas

    It does not make any sense at all why they had to KILL all these animals. They could have used tranquilizers just as easily. Human life, schuman life... There is no explanation other than "Boys wanted to have some fun and went hunting".

    October 19, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tommy Smith

      Can't you read? Tranquilizers require being within 40 yards, rifles work at 300. Did you gp volunteer to tranquilize these animals? Didn't think so.

      October 19, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tommy Smith

      Can't you read? Tranquilizers require being within 40 yards, rifles work at 300. Did you go volunteer to tranquilize these animals? Didn't think so.

      October 19, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      I don't agree. Local law enforcement are not trained or equipped to deal with this. They had to make a decision to save lives. I am sure no one was happy or proud having to do that. Hopefully some laws change to prevent such a thing in the future

      October 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pat Webber

    Ohio needs to immediately change laws about ownership of wild and exotic animals. Obviously the authorities cannot control this, they stated that this man had problems for some time taking care of his animals. Yet they did nothing. So we have such a tragic and sad situation as this, with almost fifty rare and precious animals shot and killed, because those in charge allow ridiculous laws to stand and cannot/do not enforce them proper;y anyway. The blame lays with the state authorities and law enforcement of the state of Ohio. Shame on you. Change the laws Now. This is disgraceful and inexcusable.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. w4lkingth3d0g

    I'm with BlueParadise and DarkStar. Although it is extremely regrettable that they were forced to kill the animals, especially the ones in danger of extinction, when human lives are at stake, I think we must do anything possible to preserve those lives.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pat Webber

    The Humane Society said Thompson "would almost certainly have had his animals removed by May 1, 2011, if the emergency order had not expired."

    "Every month brings a new, bizarre, almost surreal incident involving privately held, dangerous wild animals," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society. "In recent years, Ohioans have died and suffered injuries because the state hasn't stopped private citizens from keeping dangerous wild animals as pets or as roadside attractions. Owners of large, exotic animals are a menace to society, and it's time for the delaying on the rule-making to end."

    Fritz Douthitt, a volunteer at the Zanesville Animal Shelter Society, recalled Thompson's 2005 trial for cruelty and torture of cattle and bison. She said he had not been able to get up the hill to feed his livestock, and they died.

    Wow! It is even more incompetent than it first appeared! This case should have NEVER happened! What is wrong with you Ohio authorities? Change the laws NOW.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. worktolive

    All you experts in dangerous animal control please call your local law enforcement office and leave your phone numbers so when this happens again you all can go out in the woods at night and tranquilize these animals. PROBLEM SOLVED!!!

    October 19, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim Harsher

      I would instead of killing them, Come on they killed them in the daylight to.

      October 19, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • susan miller

      worktolive had a good solution. i totally agree.. dont blame the law inforcement for doing there job. im sure they dont carry tranqulizing equipment with them at all times. so you better get your tranqulizer guns ready a stay by the phone in case this should ever happen again.

      October 19, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ziggy

    I find this whole thing disgusting, a waste of life, and a poor excuse to shoot animals that were not engaged in harmful activity, other than setting foot in freedom that had not tasted before. They was no reason tranquilizers could not have been rounded up in a sufficient amount of time in order to humanely transfer these animals into a safe area, either to rehabilitate them to return them to the wild, or to transfer them into a another zoo. I would think that being nightfall would have provided enough safety as most are indoors at that time, rather then saying it would have been better during the day when most are out as well as their pets. This is absurd.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim Harsher

      I agree and they killed some in daylight to. This makes me sick.

      October 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cristie

    It is very sad indeed that these animals lived in cages for the majority of their lives. It is even more sad that someone disturbed enough to take his own life was allowed a permit to keep these animals. How unfortunate that a State that permits exotic animals to be owned on private property is not prepared to act in a humane manner in a state of emergency to prevent the mayhem of these beautiful animals. I find it extremely hard to believe that the murder of every one of these animals was necessary. That just is not possible. To the State of Ohio, you may want to re-examine your laws. This is just unfortunate for all involved.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Charlene French

    HUMAN lives are valuable but they are equal in value to animal lives. No doubt that tons of people will disagree. I don't care. Humans kill other humans, they kill babies, mothers, men, women, and everything else in their path for no reason. Animals can do the same. We share this planet. We have a responsibility to respect those creatures that are weaker than us.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kim Harsher

    It is disgusting what they did to these animals. They could have been tranqualized. They do it all the time and the animals dont get out of hand. They was caged for years and finally was free for what a few minutes and then shot to death. This isnt right something needs to be done. Ive wrote to alot of places about this. Why couldnt they let the zoo that came in take them? This is so sad.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. swohio

    I'm kinda curious...where is the CNN news story about the comments from readers who WEREN'T disgusted by the animal killings, but rather expressed support for what the authorities did? Did I miss it?

    October 19, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland Tony

      They're in the comments stack. They have interns who manage all these comments and I don't know what their guidelines are?

      October 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Will

    This is awful and unfortunately it takes this type of situation to review our laws. Hopefully Ohio will change their laws on this as well another states. As for this man who did this, he is a coward. He knew what would happen to these animals and also knew that humans and other animals could be killed. These animals trusted him to feed them and take care of them. He is a coward and took the easy way out and tried to take any people and animals with him. Hate to see these animals suffer the fate because of an idiot but I dont blame law enforcement, I would have made the same decision based on the situation.

    October 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jordyn

    i completely agree, it is crazy that people are so outraged over this one incident when so many animals are being tortured daily so that people can eat them. I'm opposed to torturing animals of any kind. I just wish everyone complaining would realize that they are contributing to the suffering of animals by simply eating meat.

    October 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlene French

      Jordyn, I have become a vegetarian myself this month. I no longer eat meat. I lost my beloved male orange tabby cat after he suffered with a month-long illness in September - it was the way that his death affected me. I just couldn't do it any longer. Yes, I am a "new" vegetarian but I am one now all the same and I am very outraged over this incident. When I think of those magnificent creatures suffering in a small pen, running for their lives, and then shot down, I have no words to describe it. All I can do is cry. People say human lives are paramount but WHEN will humans stop being so cruel?

      October 19, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Charlene, Sorry about your cat. I assume you fed him meat-based cat food, as I do mine, so where is the vegetarian pet food aisle at the supermarket? Did I somehow miss it?

      October 20, 2011 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. mizt

    Such a tragedy! Of course, human life is more important than animal life, but I can't believe that only 6 animals could be saved! Doesn't say much for the sheriff & his deputies skills as problem solvers! The photos of the slaughtered animals are quite disturbing and it certainly does look like the fellas went "ahunting!" Wake up call to Ohioan legislature to enact stricter permanent regulations regarding the keeping of exotic animals! In this day and age, this type of event should not occur! Importation of all exotic animals by private individuals or companies should be outlawed throughout the US.!

    October 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      I think you've zeroed in on a significant part of the picture when you mentioned the fellas going "ahunting!" It reminded me of what I read earlier on Vox Felina (Facebook page) linking to hunters' comments on Field & Stream's website. Shooting some big game in their own back yard without having to pay for an expensive trip to the African continent is sadly too many a hunter's wet dream.

      October 20, 2011 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. Diane Sanabria

    We humans sure like to name and blame the ultimate villains who cause bad situations. The blogging heads I've read so far have implicated a cornucopia of animal rights evildoers: Ohio state authorities, the legislature, the county, state law enforcement, the Republican governor and his pro business un-regulations, the exotic "Animal Farm" owner Terry Thompson, the cops with guns...
    What about the "authorities" who let convicted felon Mr. Thompson out of jail? Did he get evaluations from a psychiatrist or two before he gained his freedom?
    I dunno, I'm not blamin', I'm just sayin'...

    October 19, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
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