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. Jesse Dailey

    The law enforcement should be brought up on charges of gross negligence. When officers arrived they unfortunately had no choice but to shoot these animals because they where completely unprepared. However the full story is that Muskingum County has at LEAST two exotic animals preserves, the other being THE WILDS (owned by a local college and the Columbus Zoo), it is absolutely gross negligence that there was NOT a protocol in place to deal with what was not just a possibility – but the probability of animal escape. The local law enforcement should have been prepared with tranq. guns (at a central and quickly accessible location) and an immediate plan of attack for containment, especially give the fact that Sheriff Lutz went out of his way in last night's interview to discuss what a issue Mr. Thompson had been in the past. Though officers had no choice but to shoot to kill last night, had they not been incompetent to begin with and planned appropriately for a foreseeable event a large number of those animals would still be alive. Due to incompetence 1% of the world's population of Bengal tigers died last night and for that there can be no forgiveness.

    October 20, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
    • HillCat

      I read you loud and clear, but the sad thing is that this individual was able to maintain this facility full of endangered and wild animals after being convicted of animal abuse no less than 5 yrs ago. I want to know how and who maintained this facility during his incarceration! I feel strongly that we determine our own destiny, and sadly I cannot feel much empathy, sympathy for family... blah, blah, blah. He took the easy way out and clearly never had any love or connection with all those amazing creatures.

      October 20, 2011 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  2. Marisol

    I need to say this in spanish.... Es lamentable que sigamos jugando a ser dioses... Es horrible que existan personas salvajes como Thompson... Pero mas salvaje legislaciones que lo permitan... Que hacian esos animales aqui? No lo puedo entender??? Que verguenza pertenecer a la especie humana...

    October 20, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. Nadia V.

    This statement by the very organization that is set in place to protect animals? I have supported the Humane Society for many years and believed in their efforts – until now. Truly, this epitomizes the desensitization of society. We are simply too comfortable with quick fixes to problems, when deep down if we examine the root cause, it only peripherally has to do with public safety. It's simply absolving and extricating oneself from any further liability – quickly. What's next? Oh, but those elderly people were a threat to society – after all, they have Alzheimer's and could hurt themselves - and others. Desensitization of society has begun and it will only proliferate exponentially. My money goes to PETA in future.

    October 20, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      Your comments and way of thinking is very much appreciated. Thank you for expressing what everyone wants to say

      October 20, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris D

      Well stated!

      October 20, 2011 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      You would do well to familiarize yourself with groups other than either HSUS or PETA, who are birds of a feather, so to speak. When it comes to killing in animal shelters, both HSUS and PETA have opposed no-kill policies. In particular, check out the writings of Nathan Winograd with regard to both groups.

      October 20, 2011 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. Wyatt B

    Shoot the animals? That was your best idea? How many thousands of people/hundreds of experts would have helped you track down those dangerous animals the next day? Would it have been that hard to warn the people in the area? I guess guns are just the easiest tool in law enforcement...for kneejerk rookies.

    October 20, 2011 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. Chris D

    UTTERLY UNFORGIVABLE. Ohio – now you have the opportunity to change your laws about IDIOTS keeping animals. Where was this guys staff?? Where were officials that allowed this sort of thing to happen. Who suffered for this?? The animals through no fault of their own. I won't be visiting Ohio or recommending visitation ever again. I am also boycotting Ohio made products. Yours for better administration.

    October 20, 2011 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. Aaron

    The response to this is shocking– what if this happened in Africa? We condemn local people killing wildlife there but when it happens on American soil we need to put human safety first. When the Maasai of Kenya killed several lions after several deaths due to lions in their community, we said they were needlessly killing wildlife. I'm not saying they shouldn't have killed the animals, I'm just saying think about this next time you hear about people in other countries killing wildlife.

    October 20, 2011 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. ABQNM

    This is the saddest thing I read in a very long time.I cannot understand why someone would have all these beautiful animals and then set them free...knowing that something like this could happen (the killing).Since I am from Africa....I know about wild animals...They do not belong on someone's Ranch. I hope they look into the law and change it so this does not happen again.These animals belong in the wild....

    October 20, 2011 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
    • HillCat

      Where in Africa?

      October 20, 2011 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  8. ABQNM

    I agree with with Aaron .....and hopefully we would learn something from this...

    October 20, 2011 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jacks

    Although I can see both sides of the story, the real person(s) to blame for all this is Terry Thompson himself, plus the authorities that allow someone to keep exotic animals like that. In our country there is a law against keeping these animals and therefore I sincerley hope that after this tragedy, they will alter the laws on keeping animals, specially since they were already keeping an eye on Thompson! I feel sad that so many endangered animals had to be killed due to keep humans in the area safe. Which is another thing I don't get...how is someone allowed to keep that many dangerous wild life in a populated area?? There are so many things wrong with this picture, it's unbelievable as it could have been avoided imo

    October 20, 2011 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
  10. George

    What is sad is we will never know the thoughts and feelings of these animals as the bullets penetrated their bodies, as the humans in which they coexisted with day by day inflicted pain on them. We should be asking them for forgiveness. For we know not what we do we are only human.

    October 20, 2011 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. charlisss

    http://fastyshare.com/LdC8G6kMCcw6ebP – reall good jail break for iphone IOS 5

    October 20, 2011 at 5:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. George

    Jack hanna the animal lover has done nothing but defend what the sherrifs department has done. He claims to love animals more than anyone. What a joke. He loves nothing but the image of fame.

    October 20, 2011 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. liz

    I heard both sides and I still think they could have handled this situation differently. Maybe a few animals needed to be put down, but over 50! Pease. This a slaughter and the officers should be criticized. Some police officers are even trigger happy when dealing with humans. I thinks sometimes we're too eager to defend law enforcement, especially after 9/11. I certainly support law enforcement, but they should not be exempt from criticism and punishment when something this terrible happens. They needed more patience. And I think they had enough time to get expert help. The Columbus zoo was only 55 miles away. That's a 1-1/2 hour drive tops. Plus a little more time to get the necessary equipment. Seems they couldn't even wait for daylight to assess the situation. I just can't take their side on this one. Sorry.

    October 20, 2011 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. Portland Tony

    We Americans do some stupid things from time to time. This Ohio game massacre was but one!

    October 20, 2011 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. Nor Easter TC6

    I am an Ohioan born and raised in OH-Ten, residing now in the Northeast

    I also have relatives in Zanesville, Americans have distorted their liberties again in keeping these dangerous animals on private property. The elected officials have done very little to nothing in Ohio to protect the public at large.

    They should be brought up on charges of gross negligence not law enforcement, ohioans have been killed in the past from exotic animals.

    I think something is wrong with a person who has a fixation on keeping dangerous animals in their homes and property in New York 2010 a man was killed by his 350 lbs tiger that was living in his apartment with an aligator filling the bathtub.

    New Yorkers were stunned !! when officials carried the animals out. What right do you animal crazed lovers have to keep these creatures, taking them out of their natural enviroment just for your personal amusement SHAME ON YOU !!!

    October 20, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
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