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. Alex

    These animals need to be killed. How awful would it be if a tiger, angry from a tranquilizer that didn't affect it, killed someone nearby out of rage? Kill them or be killed.

    October 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      remove the problem at its roots. these animals should be here in the first place.

      October 19, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland Tony

      No ones disputing your point. What's got people upset was why endangered and dangerous animals were being looked after by a suicidal man in Ohio ...huh?

      October 19, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • caterpillar

      You're probably one of those ding dongs that are paranoid to switch lanes, so why wouldn't you be paranoid of a loose animal.

      The world population is about to reach 7 million. God forbid if an animal tries to keep the human population in check!

      October 20, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
    • caterpillar

      THAT IS 7 BILLION!!!

      October 20, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Hey Alex,agreed that it would be sad if someone got hurt or killed,but really,kill or be killed.How about using non violent efforts first and then if they don't work go to plan B.How about waiting to see if you are going to be attacked first before you just decide that you are and start shooting. They might not have been able to capture all of the animals but I bet they could have got a lot more alive if they tried. I live in rural maine everyday with bears,coyotes,deer moose,bobcat,lynx,fisher cats and the list goes on,doesn't mean I need to go shoot them. Tigers,bears,wolves are trapped all the time without anyone getting hurt.This is way overboard as far as I am concerned. Anyone in Ohio that was worried or concerned about the animals,all they had to do is stay inside until the proper ,i'll repeat proper, wildlike and animal control people could get things under control.If Ohio didn't have any such people they should have made a phone call. Ever watch animal planet,everyday florida is trapping and capturing Alligators,Crocodiles,Boa constrictors,Pythons,Iguanas,Tacu's,water mocasins,and the list goes on there too,and not one of those potentionally dangerous and deadly animals is harmed in any way,they are relocated.

      October 20, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. Emily

    Any "exotic animal farm" or zoo firstly should not even be legal. These animals do not belong here. Secondly, since they are here any location with animals like such should be fully prepared for anything to go wrong and completely licensed and by several and or programs that will provide extra support so people as incapable as this man are not allowed to keep exotics. To say the least in my frustrations. This is ridiculous. I fully support making these animals completely illegal to Canada and the States. My family has never supported zoos and circuses and such, I was taught this is not their habitat and completely agree with it. Even though I have not been in contact with these animals I am educated enough to know whats out there and simply the difference between what is right and wrong. Wake up Canada and the States and make the difference change the legislature and laws. Importation of exotics is not right.

    October 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reyna

      Well said Emily. I agree 100%

      October 20, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. Portland Tony

    Most of these exotic animals are eventually sold to trophy hunters who have them tranquillized and then hunted here in the. US. Big bucks scam to hang a stuffed bear or tiger in your hunting lodge. I'm surprised the cops or feds didn't shut him down earlier.

    October 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Emily

    http://www.bornfreeusa.org/

    October 19, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ro

    Tell ya what-all you folks who think tranquilizers take effect immediately- you stand literally behind the people trying that approach. I'll be ducking behind the sherriff with a rifle!

    October 19, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sarah D.

    Look, these people did their best. Some were saved, but sadly most were killed. The man who did this was a horrible person and the state shouldn't have allowed it. It is sad the some endangered animals were killed, but it should be said that even if those tigers were released those tigers probably wouldn't have made it in to a breeding program at the zoo. They probably didn't have any papers about their genetics and AZA zoos that do a lot of the breeding try to get a very diverse breeding pool and they go through a process to see which animal breed with who. For those of you who say zoos are bad, have you not seen how AZA zoos help with breeding and releasing endangered animals. Not to mention that AZA zoos are so much better then what this man had his animals in. Did anybody see the pictures of the cages he had his animals it. THAT was inhumane.

    October 19, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • nmr

      These hick cops had the time of their lives pumping buckshot into dozens endangered species. I wonder how many newly mounted lion heads the sheriff has up on his wall...

      October 19, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Terri Davis

    HOW MANY MORE HAVE TO DIE????????? HOW MANY MORE HAVE TO SUFFER?????? BEFORE ANYTHING CHANGES OHIO????????????? CALL your OH State Rep today and tell them to PASS HB 108 Nitro's Law which would make gross acts of animal abuse a felony - not a misdemeanor. HB 108 passed the House Committee and now is on the floor for a vote by House Representatives. It is urgent you CALL. You will speak to an aide. Tell them you are a consituent (registered voter in their district), give them your address, phone number and tell them to PASS HB 108, that it is a pressing issue for you and will effect your vote at re-election. Please SHARE with OHIO friends and repost. CALL, FAX, and Email in that order. Phone CALLS are the most important. It will take 2 minutes. And keep calling!....

    October 19, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lynne p

    Sounds to me like it was safari time in Zanesville today. Yes, some of the animals had to be tracked at night-yes they could crawl off before the tranquilizer took full effect. Has anyone heard of night vision goggles? They really work well. Just ask our military, who actually use them to hunt humans in the dark-quite successfully. So, shoot the animal with a tranquilizer, with your night goggles on, and follow it until it goes unconsious. Have a back up officer with you, and if anything goes wrong-then shoot the animal with bullets. But no one even tried that. The population of this area is 25,000. Many of the animals were still on the 75 acres when they were destroyed. None were found in the city. Everyone was told to stay inside. And what was the justification of the slaughter the next day, in the daylight, of the remaining animals? Hmmmm. And yes-there should be a law banning the keeping of exotic pets-oh, wait, there was one put in place by Gov. Strickland-and guess who let it expire in April? Hmmmm. Does Kasich ring a bell?

    October 19, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. furious over senseless killings

    We are furious over this senseless killing! These animals were probably scared and confused but that doesn't make them dangerous. The sheriff had no right to massacre these animals - he and his deputies made this into a private hunting party - and each of these cowboys should be charged with animal abuse and fired from their jobs. Was there potential danger - sure - but that is why we have veternarians and zoo officials - there were many other things that could have been done– they didn't need to be slaughtered - inexcusable, horrifying and evil.

    October 19, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Melissa H

    I live 20 miles from where this incident took place and the most disturbing part of all is the fact that law enforcement had prior issues with these animals for the past 20 years not to mention this guy had 11 accounts of animals negelct against him. my question is that if these animals posed such a threat to humans then why didnt somebody do something before it got out of control. NOBODY was concerned for these animals wel being or the publics safety untill it became a serious issue. I certainly hope Governor Kasich puts a bill into legislation to not allow anyone in ohio who has been convicted of animal cruelty to own such pets. Governor Strickland had such a bill in place before he left office and Kasich and his staff chose to let the ban expire. Had Kasich office not done so Mr. Thompson would have never been allowed to own such pets and this terrible tragedy could of been avoided. Very disapointed in the people of my state and how this whole situation was handled.

    October 19, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Adam D

    It's beyond tragic. According to Jack Hannah there are only 1400 Bengal Tigers left in the world. Among the dead animals were 18 Bengal Tigers. That means over 1% of that majestic animal was destroyed today. To put that in perspective using our own species, it would be as if 90 million humans were suddenly wiped off the face of the earth.

    October 19, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Christine Cherian

    THIS IS A JOKE.. ANIMALS THAT ALREADY ENDANGERED SO THEY DECIDE TO SHOOT THEM. WOW MAKES SO MUCH SENSE..OHIO HAS THE WORST LAWS WHEN IT COMES TO EXOTIC ANIMALS. ITS A JOKE THEY KILLED EVERY SINGLE ANIMAL, NOT SAVING ONE ..SENSELESS ANIMAL CRUELTY

    October 20, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam D

      I understand you frustration and agree wholeheartidly. But you should know that CBS reported that six animals were saved, "three leopards, a grizzly bear and two monkeys — were captured and taken to the Columbus Zoo." Six is far too few but at least it's something/

      October 20, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. Betty

    Yes, for the comments above about the fact that those concerned are a bunch of "tree huggers" and that we either shoot them or be killed ourselves is absolutely ridiculous. Are we shooting these animals for consumption? Do we need to? No. Should these animals even be in the United States in the first place? NO. And for all the stupid people in Ohio who had a part in this, did anyone even THINK to have a plan in case these animals escaped??

    It's absolutely mind blowing to me that one would transport these exotic and extremely dangerous creatures (as everyone is so concerned about) without thinking about the potential for this situation to happen. Yes, people first you might say, but when it's the government and the other humans putting themselves and society at risk in the first place, it's hard to feel sympathy towards the trigger-happy participants in this massacre of animals.

    Well done Ohio, way to really damage innocent, endangered species. And you did it from home too!! Bravo!!

    October 20, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  14. caterpillar

    Those 49 exotic animals in Ohio did not have to be killed. The police department's excuse for having to shoot and kill them all did not make any sense. They said if it was earlier in the day, they would have been able to use tranquilizer guns instead. But it was too late in the day and it was starting to get dark and they weren't equipped with tranquilizer guns. But, knowing that the owner of all of those animals had been in jail and had continuous problems with the law because of the animals, leads me to believe the sheriff should have equipped his deputies with tranquilizer guns long ago in case something like this happended. The police department should have known of the clear risk to the public and instead of shooting off dozens of bullets that could have ended up anywhere, should have used the tranquilizer guns they should have been equipped with and kept the residents inside until they got the situation under control in a peaceful manner. They must all be trophy hunters.

    Also, please consider that the owner of these animals could have been murdered. Somebody fed up with this guy and his many exotic animals could have murdered this guy and made it look like a suicide!! Why would an animal lover set dozens of his big cats and bears free as if they were all going to run off into the wild to live happily everafter? He couldn't have seriously wanted them all dead. Is there any record that he attempted to find these animals new homes before he did himself in?

    What about that gunned down zebra in middle of all of this? I guess he was a real big threat too!!

    Republicans – TOTALLY HEARTLESS!!!

    October 20, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • grasshopper

      "Why would an animal lover set dozens of his big cats and bears free as if they were all going to run off into the wild to live happily everafter?" Why? Because suicidal people don't think rationally. If he felt that in his own life that he was trapped with no other escape route, then it's not terribly difficult to imagine what motivated him at the same time to release the animals: "You're free now! Run! Run away!"

      October 20, 2011 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mary

    Trigger-happy law enforcement. Shoot first, ask questions later. So tragic.

    October 20, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
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