Wild animals loose; many shot and killed
It’s a bad scene when wild animals escape from enclosures and seek their freedom in the back yards of some Ohioans.
Outrageous is the number of animals killed!
“At Least 31 Exotic Animals Shot After Escaping Farm
Wednesday October 19, 2011 6:53 AM
UPDATED: Wednesday October 19, 2011 8:26 AM
ZANESVILLE, Ohio - Officers armed with assault rifles patrolled throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in hopes of finding dozens of animals that escaped from a wild animal preserve.
The wild animal preserve's owner, Terry Thompson was found dead on the property, 10TV News reported. Authorities did not say how he died.
The preserve had lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, giraffes, camels and bears. Authorities said that bears and wolves were among the escaped animals that were killed and there were multiple sightings of exotic animals along nearby Interstate 70.
"These are wild animals that you would see on TV, in Africa," said Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz.
Lutz told residents to stay indoors. Schools were canceled for the day for Zanesville City Schools, Maysville Local Schools, Foxfire Community Schools, West Muskingum Local Schools and St. Nicholas Elementary School. Licking Valley Elementary School was placed under a two-hour delay because of the hunt.
"It's been a bad situation for a long time and the last thing we want to do is to have any of our public hurt," Lutz said. "No young kids should go outside tonight."
At least 31 animals were shot and killed, 10TV's Shayla Reaves reported.
Thompson was found dead outside his home on the preserve's property near Kopchak Road. Authorities said that the fences were left unsecured.
Police said that staff from the Columbus Zoo and The Wilds were on scene in hopes of tranquilizing the animals and return them to safety. Columbus Zoo director emeritus Jack Hanna drove overnight to Zanesville from Pennsylvania to assist.
"It's a terrible situation, there's no doubt about that," Hanna said. "The loss of any animal's life is tragic. Of course, the loss of a human life would be even more tragic."
The Licking County Sheriff's Office said they had received at least four reports of exotic animal sightings at about 11 p.m. on Tuesday.
As a precaution, the Licking County Sheriff's Office said they had activated members of its SWAT team who were equipped with night vision and the weapons necessary to deal with the animals.
Thompson had orangutans and chimpanzees in his home, but those were still in their cages, Lutz said.”