From CNN:

An Ohio sheriff believes no more exotic animals are on the loose after his deputies killed 49 lions, tigers and other wild animals freed from a local farm by its suicidal owner. Of the 56 animals released Tuesday night, only a grizzly bear, two monkeys and three leopards were taken alive, Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said. One monkey remained unaccounted for Wednesday night, but conservationist Jack Hanna, who assisted in the effort, said the animal may have been eaten.

The farm's owner, Terry Thompson, pried open cages and opened the farm's fences before dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday afternoon, Lutz said

None of the deputies were equipped with tranquilizer guns.

As of Wednesday afternoon, authorities had killed 18 tigers, 17 lions, six black bears, two grizzly bears, three mountain lions, two wolves and a baboon. Those captured alive were taken to the Columbus Zoo.

COMMENT: This is terrible. Not just the fact that all these rare and beautiful animals were killed due to no fault of their own. But mainly because Americans are allowed to keep wild animals locked up for their own pleasure or for making money. When will the people of the USA realise that freedom and doing whatever you want whenever you want and damn the consequences, are two completely different things?



  1. Laws vary from state to state. This private “zoo” would have been illegal in most states, including Washington State, where I live.

  2. Hell, we’ve got cops over here that shoot people for having less offensive weapons than these beautiful animals had. Doesn’t surprise me that the only thing they could think to do was shoot them.

  3. Well, there was Humane Society involvement as well. I did read that one of the tigers actually got more agitated/aggressive after a tranquilizer dart. However, it should not have been allowed in the first place.

    I also keep thinking of that creepy woman and her overgrown drugged up chimp that ripped that woman’s face off… ::shudders::

  4. I was so saddened when I heard this, too. It’s one thing to have a legitimate animal rescue or preserve, and quite another to have a private zoo. For the legitimate wild animal rescue groups, there really must be more laws regulating them, and regular checks and professional supervision of the animals and their habitats.

    I, too, was upset when I heard they had to kill the animals instead of trying to tranquilize them. The news reports last night explained that it was dusk by the time the authorities got there, and dark when they were tracking the animals down, and it would have been far too dangerous to try and tranquilize them in the dark. It was also too dangerous to the surrounding community to wait too long for the properly equipped professionals to arrive to try and dart and rescue the animals. Especially tragic, I think, is the loss of the tigers, as they are so endangered.

    And, of course, it’s terribly sad about the owner who committed suicide and set all this into motion. My prayers are with his family and all who grieve for him.

  5. Meanwhile, domesticated animals who CANNOT live (safely) on their own, are being put down, in their millions, by animal control. It’s fecking insane!

    Adopt a dog or cat*, NOT a wolf or tiger!!!

    * And spay/neuter the friends! And quit paving over (only tread lightly on) the wolf and tiger’s (et al) terrains!

  6. This was, as Renz said, a tragedy on so many levels. As horrible as the killings were, I suspect the number of animals, especially the Bengal tigers, was simply a drop in the bucket of the total number of “exotic” animals held by people in the US (and other countries – let us not forget that rich Europeans have just as fond a taste for possessing unusual animals – witness the gent caught trying to smuggle rare Mexcan tarantulas to Europe). I seriously doubt there is any way to know for sure, but I’d guess there are far more Bengals in captivity like these than there are in the wild. The sad fact is, no one in the area had the equipment or training to tranquilize these big cats or transport them or confine them for the safety of the surrounding population. Blame the fool who let them out and then killed himself.

  7. There are 15000 big cats in private hands in the USA. And no, we don’t have the same situation in Europe as it is against the law and it’s very difficult to hide a bloody great tiger in Europe as we don’t have the space. Our main problem, of a similar vein, is the smuggling of bush meat into the country.

  8. Also read a report of the drug king pins in Mexico having elaborate private zoos to show off their wealth. The folks down there are having trouble placing all the animals everytime one of those guys gets busted.

  9. Aren’t there international treaties forbidding the trade in rare animals? Oh, silly me, I forgot. The USA never signs those sort of treaties even when the rest of us do.

  10. Or we sign them, biting our lip to not laugh to hard…then when they shut off the cameras, the PREZ blithely crumples up the paperwork and laughingly shoots it into the garbage can across the room with a laugh…”Two points…I still got it!”