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. ANIMAL LOVER

    I am SICK that the local killers killed all of those Tigers...shame on their haste to prove themselves by gunning down these endangered animals. No one should be allowed to keep wild animals.
    That town should replace that gun happy sheriff.

    October 20, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      So,Animal Lover, which would you rather have seen on the news? Police and children killed the following day after animals let loose from cages! OR No lose of life after animals freed from their cages?

      Why are you people so upset? You have either not seen what happens when a animal is tranquilized nor do you know how long it takes for the drug to take effect? It takes 5 minutes and as other people have said, you have to be within 40 yards. A tiger can travel that 40 yards faster then the drug and it can kill within seconds. I myself do wish, as most people wish, that the animals could have been taken alive. But, there was no option. Come on people JACK HANNA said it best...people's survival came first. Now, get off your high horse and just be thankful that no people were killed.

      October 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      Yes people must live to kill again.

      October 20, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. John Buckley

    Were these animals really dangerous or could law enforcement have waited for zoo officials to capture? The animals most likely were running away and the police hunters now boasting of their prowess in using a rifle to kill from far away a non threatening animal. Our ignorence is amazing!

    October 20, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • AshyRK

      I was thinking the same thing – being carnivorous probably wasn't the first thing on their mind... they were just escaping, and I think that if people maintained their distance and didn't do anything threatening, they wouldn't have attacked anyway. People just aren't educated/aware enough, so they support such actions... It really truly is a pity that they couldn't have caught them and released them to the wild.... so very very disappointing.

      October 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Freedom isn't free

    The blame for this can be placed squarely on Ohio Governor, John Kasich. There was a law on the books in Ohio prohibiting convicted animal abusers from owning these exotic animals. In the name of "more freedom and less government regulation, John Kasich allowed the law to lapse. http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2011/10/20/regulating-animals-is-a-political-football.html

    October 20, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Schlangemann

    Okay, I will certainly agree that private ownership of exotic animals is insane. I will also agree that some of the more 'elite' in our country do an excellent job of keeping exotic animals in large areas with top-notch care. The one thing I really need to say, however, is that the people who are moaning on about killing these animals has: a) NEVER actually encountered a predatory beast and b) NEVER done research on the sedation of large animals.

    Tranqs work slowly compared to how long it takes for a lion to just flat out kill your dumb a$$. Listen to Mr. Hannah, a VERY well respected animal specialist, and his comments on this situation. His friend was killed trying to tranq a big cat once. The cat leapt over 18 feet in ONE JUMP and killed the man in seconds. Even firearms arent guaranteed to stop these animals. It takes a lot of lead to bring down an adult lion. You want a lion to eat your face? get out there and try to capture them. Stop telling the people hunting these animals to risk leaving thier children without parents because you want to save a tiger that you will never see.

    October 20, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Portland Tony

      If this theory is in fact true. How'd the animals get their in the first place. People who capture in the wild have to worry about overdosing and potentially killing the animals. Costs $$$. Cops didn't want or care about the animals on the loose. Their job is public safety. All I'm saying, is that Ohio's idea of civilization might not meet certain criteria like having sane laws concerning wild beasts!

      October 20, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Schlangemann

      Tony,

      The people capturing these animals in the wild had two major advantages: 1) The animals were not a danger to a large population center and 2) They probably captured them before they matured. You can pet a tiger cub to sleep and put it in a cage...

      Still, Ohio needs to refine thier system a bit; on this much we may agree. Police are not heartless, of that we can be certain. They did try to capture some, but each animal was taken on a case-by-case basis. Very Boolean, in fact. I could write a program for it quick:
      If
      animal is immidiate danger = no
      than if
      tranqs are closeby = yes
      than if
      tranqs make the beast go insane = no
      than if
      tranqs sedate beats safely = yes
      than if
      cage is nearby = yes
      than CAPTURE
      else
      NEUTRALIZE
      end if
      else
      NEUTRALIZE
      end if
      else
      NEUTRALIZE
      end if
      else
      NEUTRALIZE
      end if
      else
      NEUTRALIZE
      end if
      'rofl
      end sub

      October 20, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. MaryInBoise

    I won't comment further about the tragedy of this situation, as I think that point has been well made. I will take this opportunity to say that kstr13's comment up there about the white tiger is a sad product of the type of propaganda put out by people who breed tigers for entertainment purposes and exploitation. White tigers do NOT exist naturally in the wild. They are a genetic anomaly that occur very rarely. (Think about it, wouldn't being white be a major disadvantage camoflague-wise in the middle of a jungle?) The white tigers that we see today are the descendants of a single animal and therefore when they are bred they often result in deformities that are killed. Some of these breedings result in perfectly healthy orange tiger cubs that are also destroyed because they won't make the same kind of money for the exploitation breeders. You can see a picture of Tony the white tiger, a victim of this inbreeding here: http://tippedearclan.wordpress.com/2007/01/10/meet-the-real-captive-bred-white-tiger/ You can also find out more about the truth about white tigers here: http://bigcatrescue.org/abuse-issues/issues/white-tigers/ Please, please educate yourselves about this important issue. And thanks to those who read this long comment. As you can tell, this issue is close to my heart.

    October 20, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Anchorite

      White tigers are a genetic anomaly but the Bengals they come from are endangered. The much more tragic public misnomer is that killing endangered species is illegal. It's not illegal except on federal land, and even then it happens a lot without consequences. The ESA is a big bogeyman to the hunting/logging crowd and they have never even read a summary of it.

      October 20, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. Olivia

    Shame shame shame...I can't believe that all those animals were an immediate danger to the community. Instead of an effort to bring them back to a safe environment, it sounds like those gun-toting yahoos just got their jollies on a domestic game hunt. They are not fit for public safety. And shame on the state of Ohio for allowing this type of operation in the first place.

    October 20, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Anchorite

      Yep. They weren't a danger to anyone because everyone was told to stay inside. A tiger can't get into your car, home, school, place of business.

      October 20, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jimbo

    "Oh my God, it's coming right for us!"

    October 20, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Anchorite

    For all you who are criticizing animal lovers, have you ever heard of staying INDOORS when there are dangerous animals out there? We have bears in the US all the time, but they can't get into your house unless you open the door and leave a big steak on the porch. They told everyone to go inside anyway so they wouldn't be shot by the deputies, so how was the human public's safety threatened?

    October 20, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. ShootFirstThink Later

    Ya know....let the animals thin out the PEOPLE....we need fewer people on this damn planet of nearing 7 billion.

    October 20, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      This is the blog of the day thank you

      October 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • AshyRK

      I couldn't agree more– we are such selfish animals!!

      October 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      Pffhahahahahaha.....really?

      October 21, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. Think Again

    First, wasn't this site in a very rural area? Wouldn't it have been very easy to use a bus with several armed cops to evacuate the 20 or so residents in a ten-mile radius to eliminate animal-civilian confrontations until daylight enabled capture? Are they telling us all this night hunting was easier than just removing the humans from the scene?
    Second, these animals were being raised in cages. They were not roaming 100 square mile ranges and on the hunt all their lives. Their eating habits were domestic, and their wit, strength, and endurance were not equal to their wild counterparts, so let's cut the BS that they're going to cover 40 yards in 1.1 seconds and eat the tranq shooter. Those animals were fish in a barrel for the yahoo cops to shoot. Big men.
    This could have been handled very differently, but then those egomaniacs wouldn't have had their Great Safari boast stories.

    October 20, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. George

    The botttom line is its human nature to kill. Hanna is a joke no species is superior to any other, that fact that humans are chicken. . . t and can kill from any distance away doesnt make humans superior. The day aliens visit earth and introduce themselves is the day you will see this repeated. Lets home aliens never come. Its funny how easy an animal, human, or any species is easy to kill when a label is attatched.(threat, dangerous, terrorists. Its such a shame to be human.

    October 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kevin

    It is hard to believe that every one of those animals had to be killed. Why were zoos not contacted to capture them, I am sure they would have been able to capture them alive.

    October 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Justin

    I do understand the public being scared but first you have to understand these species. Lions, tigers, and (Leopards; Cougar; Or cheetah depending on what news station you watch or read) usually run when around humans. Some people may say well maybe not around smaller children but a simple announcment of these animals being released would have been sufficient enough for adults to not let their children out during this event would have been adequate. Like stated many time's, a lot of these species especially tigers and leopards (if there were any leopards) are on the verge of extinction. I never really cared for animals before but recently I have found a love for these creatures. They are amazing and for the officers to be so ignorant and macho to have a shoot to kill without even contacting an exotic animal expert they should be punished. These animals could have been easily shot with tranqs just as easily. Now if confronted with a situation where in dager then it is proper to use lethal force but this is not in faact how they went about it.

    October 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Justin

    Also, I would like to add that a Cougar, a Leopard, and a Cheetah are 3 COMPLETELY different animals. I have seen 3 news stations report different things. It used to be a skill that reporters had a decade ago but as you can see now, just as in economic and war reports, these
    reporters do not investigate they just repeat what they hear.

    October 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Laura

    I'm very saddened and shocked by the killing of all of these beautiful animals and have to believe many more of them could have been saved. Most were gunned down before they even left the farm. There has to have been a better way. Unfortunately this will probably happen again unless laws are changed and enforced to stop allowing private ownership of exotic animals. A friend of mine has a quote from Gandhi in her email signature which seems quite relevant: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

    October 20, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
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