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article imageExotic animals on the loose in rural Ohio town

By Jacki Viles     Oct 19, 2011 in World
Zanesville - A dangerous situation is unfolding in the rural community of Zanesville, Ohio today as the public is under lockdown while the local sheriff’s department hunts the area for escaped exotic animals.
The story began late yesterday when Terry Thompson, owner of the Muskingum County Animal Farm seemingly released the animals on his property before killing himself. The immediate concern is the safety of the people in the surrounding area. As many as 48 animals- lions, bears, tigers, cheetahs, camels and wolves - have run loose on the countryside.
The public is warned that these animals are mature adults and naturally aggressive. The Muskingum County Sheriff’s Department has sought help from officials from the nearby Columbus Zoo. As the search for the animals continued through the night, the safety decision to shoot to kill was enforced to protect the community and the officers.
Jack Hanna, the high profile Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo was on the ground with his team. He defends law enforcements position to shoot to kill saying,
"What was he to do at nighttime with tigers and lions, leopards, going out there? In the wild this would be a different situation."
Mr. Thompson has had a number of issues with the law over the years. No information has been given on how he killed himself. The community has been warned to stay indoors and schools are closed. Highway information signs are warning travelers that exotic animals are on the loose.
As of this moment between 10 and 20 animals are still at large.
More about animal preserve, Jack Hanna, Muskingum County, Lions, Ohio
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