A grizzly bear, a mountain lion, and a monkey are roaming loose in Zanesville, Ohio, after the owner of an animal preserve set them free and then took his own life.
More than 45 animals including bears, monkeys, lions, tigers, and leopards have been shot and killed since Tuesday night in Zanesville, Ohio. A grizzly bear, a mountain lion and a monkey are still on the loose after apparently being set free by the owner of an animal preserve who then shot and killed himself.
Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said he ordered officers to shoot the roaming animals because public safety was in jeopardy. Sadly, many of the animals were shot at close range. Authorities hope to tranquilize the remaining animals when they are located, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium director emeritus Jack Hanna told FOX News Channel.
Several school districts canceled Wednesday classes as worried residents took refuge indoors, the Zanesville Times Recorder reported.
Lutz said that the animals were intentionally freed from the preserve because not only were the gates open, but some of the pens were also cut open.
Thompson owned between 48 and 51 exotic animals. Thompson was released from prison three weeks ago after serving a one-year term for weapons offenses. In 2005, he was convicted of cruelty to animals and placed under house arrest for six months.
A local veterinarian who inspected some of Thompson’s animals described him as “an animal collector,” although Thompson claimed he was operating an animal shelter. He was also involved in fashion photography, providing lion cubs for use in a photo shoot with model Heidi Klum in 2007, The Dispatch reported.
Wild animals deserve to be free and this story is a classic case of how situations like these can go horribly wrong. We hope as many animals can be saved as possible and that no humans are hurt.