Every now and again you hear a story about someone with an odd pet. A couple of years, New York police officers discovered some guy illegally keeping a 350-pound Bengal Tiger in his cramped Harlem apartment. The owner got bitten a few times, but luckily no one else was hurt before law enforcement officials intervened.
Now imagine that, like, times 50. That’s what happened today in Zanesville, Ohio. But worse.
Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed 49 wild animals after their owner let them loose last night — just before committing suicide. It’s believed Terry Thompson set a total 56 animals free, which includes wolves, monkeys, lions, tigers and bears (oh my). Six of those were transferred to the Columbus Zoo, about 55 miles east the owner’s 73-acre exotic-animal park
As of late afternoon, one monkey with Herpes B complex remains on the loose.
Locals hid indoors and schools were shutdown, as the hunt continues. Signs on highways warned drivers, “Caution exotic animals.”
This incident immediately sparked renewed calls for more regulations on keeping exotic pets.
“The deaths of the escaped animals from Terry Thompson’s property after he released them last night were preventable. By enacting more stringent restrictions on owning exotic pets in Ohio, tragedies like this one can be avoided in the future,” read a statement issued by Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich and guest of tonight’s show.
Ohio currently has no rules on the books regulating the sale and ownership of exotic animals.
Former Governor Ted Strickland issued an executive order during his last days in office, but current Governor John Kasich allowed it to expire in April.
[UPDATE: All the animals have now been accounted for.]