Loose Wild Animals Gunned Down in Ohio
Wild animals, including lions, tigers, bears, and wolves, were turned loose from a private collectors' property in Zanesville, Ohio. It is believed that the owner of the site, Terry Thompson, turned the animals loose before dying from a self-inflicted wound. Schools were closed, and the public was directed to stay inside as there were reports of wild animals running loose outside the property. Approximately 50 animals were believed to live at that site.
Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz issued the order to shoot to kill the animals in the name of public safety. Most of the animals were killed pursuant to Lutz's directive while a few are still being sought.
According to Lutz, about 40 of the animals were killed while still inside the property. Lutz justified this by saying they were short on daylight, they had no sedatives and were concerned about safety. It is unclear why they could not, instead, shut the fence, secure the perimeter, gather experts, supplies and create a plan to contain the animals inside, alive, until daylight while focusing on capturing the animals outside the perimeter that could actually threaten the public.
The real problem here is the ease with which permits for captive and exotic wildlife can be obtained. Whether one simply wants a pet primate or wishes to house lions for canned hunts, exhibitions or circuses, they need only pay a permit fee. Enforcement of permit requirements and compliance inspections are often infrequently conducted if at all. Whether a lion is kept as a pet or rented out for television commercials etc., he or she is still a dangerous wild animal living in close proximity to people, ostensibly for commercial entertainment. Veterinary care, food and security are expensive which can result in inhumane treatment, substandard husbandry and housing structures, and, in many cases, escape.Continued on the next page