If you don't live in Ohio, you may have heard this story anyways, as it was on Good Morning America. On Tuesday, October 18,2011 in Zanesville Ohio, exotic pet owner Terry Thompson opened the cages of all of his animals, letting loose lions, bears, tigers and more, before killing himself.
The reasons he killed himself are unclear, but it is reported that he allegedly had trouble with local authorities regarding his keeping of exotic pets, as well as the level of care he was, or wasn't providing them.
Here is a link to the story. Apparently, animals of all kind were running free. 17 lions and 18 rare Bengal tigers, wolves, monkeys, a baboon, mountain lions, black bears and grizzly bears. The saddest part of all...MOST of these animals were put down, including all the lions and rare Bengal tigers.
It made me very sad to read this, and see the pictures on the news. I guess there really was no choice. The animals were let free and running all over. Chasing horses on farms. Terrorizing the small town. And probably terrified themselves! According to Animal Control Experts, putting the animals down was really the only option. They were afraid that tranquilizing them would possibly cause the animals to wander off under sedation, getting lost in the process. Which would only mean further problems and dangerous situations for the people of Zanesville and the animals.
Still, you can't help but think of how, just for a little while, those animals must have been so excited to finally be out of their confines and running free, the way they were meant to. And I'd like to think that, hearing of the DEPLORABLE conditions this man raised the animals in, that his eternity is spent in a small cage with little food nor water, no room to run or play. Harsh? Maybe so. But so were the conditions those poor animals tolerated for who knows how long.
Which brings up another point that hits a little more close to home...it IS possible rescue exotic animals while at the same time maintaining high standards of care and the best of conditions for the animals. We are fortunate enough to have one of these rescue zoos here in the back-yard of Preble County, at Heaven's Corner Zoo. Heaven’s Corner Zoo & Animal Sanctuary in West Alexandria - Preble County Ohio is a charitable non-profit, fully licensed Educational Zoo & Sanctuary that rescues exotic animals from unfortunate circumstances. Here is a link to read all about them!
The tragedy that occurred in Zanesville was just that...pure tragedy. But it does not have to give a bad name to the MANY people out there in Ohio and beyond that love animals and do the RIGHT thing, regardless of ease or money.