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Killing of freed animals in Ohio urges local governments to reinforce citizen and animal safety

Killing of freed animals in Ohio urges local governments to reinforce citizen and animal safety

More than four dozen lions, cheetahs, and other wild animals were shot Wednesday after escaping from a farm outside Zanesville.

Of the 56 animals released Tuesday night, only a grizzly bear, two monkeys and three leopards were captured alive, according to Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz. Lutz also mentioned that the farm’s owner, Terry Thompson, opened animal cages and left his property’s fences open before dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Lutz said that none of his assistants were equipped with sedative guns that afternoon, and with the day coming to an end, he ordered them to be killed.

Owner Thompson was recently released from a federal prison after pleading guilty earlier this year to possessing illegal shotguns. He was convicted of animal cruelty in 2005 and had been arrested several times for traffic violations.

“Every month brings a new, bizarre, almost surreal incident involving privately held, dangerous wild animals,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the American 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, sympathized with the animals’ fate and said people like Thompson should be kept from keeping exotic animals as pets. She urged local government to train law enforcement officers to ensure citizen and animal safety.


Updated : 2021-10-18 04:22 GMT+08:00