Ohio Police Kill Dozens of Escaped Exotic Animals; Owner Found Dead

Sheriff’s deputies shot nearly 50 wild animals — including 18 rare Bengal tigers and 17 lions — in a big-game hunt across the state’s countryside Wednesday after the owner of an exotic-animal park threw their cages open and committed suicide in what may have been one last act of spite against his neighbors and police.

Schools closed and motorists were warned to stay in their vehicles as officers with assault rifles searched Wednesday for bears, big cats and other beasts that escaped from a wild-animal preserve in Zanesville, Ohio after the owner was found dead and cages housing dozens of dangerous animals were left open.

Police officers had to shot the animals for locals safe. Sheriff’s deputies arrived at Muskingum County Animal Farm in Zanesville on Wednesday and had nothing to do but find and shoot the animals freed from their cages. Police armed with high-powered rifles have patrolled all the territory of the farm and the surrounding areas.

Officers were told to shot to kill instead of trying to bring the beasts down with tranquilizers as animals could escape and later regain consciousness. So, police managed to capture and take 6 animals (three leopards, a grizzly bear and two monkeys) to the Columbus Zoo but the other ones were killed.

48 animals were buried on the territory of the farm. The list of the dead animals includes bears, cheetahs, wolves, rare Bengal tigers and lions.

Barney Long, an expert at the World Wildlife Fund, explained: “The tragic shooting of 18 tigers in Ohio really highlights what is happening on a daily basis to tigers in the wild throughout Asia. Over the last century, the worldwide population has plunged from about 100,000 in the wild to as few as 3,200.”

But the question “How did it happen that animals appeared to be out of the preserve?” is still on the agenda. How it was mentioned, the owner of the Country animal farm, Terry Thompson, 62, was found dead.

There were some aggressive beasts around his body and policemen had to shot them. The farm owner had chimps and orangutans in his home, but they were still in their cages.

The version of police is that Thompson may have shot himself to death after having freed the animals. Thompson neighbors’ answers differ.  Most of people who live not far from the farm have always been afraid of the possibility of facing a wild animal.

It was discovered that this case of beasts running away is not the first one. A few weeks ago a witness saw some camels which were grazing not far from a freeway.

Nevertheless, a man lived nearby, Bill Weiser, announced that Thompson was a unique person who always had his own point of view and could never have hurt somebody’s feelings. Weiser assured that the owner of the farm did his best to take care of his animals.

Still and all, it was found out that Thompson got out of prison last month. He had been given to a prison sentence for possessing unregistered guns. Thereby a new version of Thompson’s death is to appear: he could set free the animals to get back at neighbors and police.

It is not clear for what purpose the preserve operated how Thompson managed to support it and, but it was unable to be seen by the public. But Thompson took part in the “Rachael Ray Show” as an animal handler.

While searches were being held at least 3 schools were closed in the rural areas. People were warned to keep children and pets indoors. Flashing signs were set along nearby highways warning motorists to stay in their vehicles and to be attentive because of possible appearance of wild animals on the road.

It was announced at the conference next day that the danger had passed and people could move freely. It was also mentioned that the monkey is seemed to be shot because it is supposes to be carrying a herpes disease.

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