Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wild Animals-Suicide???? Zaney Zainesville!

The town of Zanesville, Ohio, was on lock down on Wednesday morning, with schools closed and drivers told to stay in their cars as police tracked dozens of wild animals who escaped from a nearby preserve.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that the man who ran the preserve — which included lions, tigers and bears, among other dangerous animals — had been found dead. It was unclear what killed the man, who was identified as Terry Thompson.

Flashing lights on the roads warned early morning commuters of the loose animals.

Speaking on CNN on Wednesday morning, Jack Hanna, former director of the Columbus Zoo, advised residents to remain calm if they see one of the animals. “Do not run,” he said.

Deputies in Ohio’s Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office found themselves in unfamiliar territory Tuesday night: They were perched in the back of pickup trucks hunting for big game — lions, tigers, bears and even cheetahs — in the middle of Ohio.

Some four dozen animals escaped on Tuesday from an exotic animal farm in Zanesville, Ohio, and were loose in the area, according to the sheriff’s office. Law enforcement officials arrived at the farm, identified by The Associated Press as the Muskingum County Animal Farm, to find the owner, Terry Thompson, dead and the animal cages open.

“I would recommend staying in doors right now,” said Sheriff Matthew J. Lutz.

No attacks or injuries had been reported as of Tuesday evening, Mr. Lutz said, but several local schools announced they would be closed on Wednesday, at the sheriff’s recommendation.

In a news conference Tuesday evening, Mr. Lutz said that his deputies had shot and killed about 25 of the animals, including lions and wolves. That left about 20 more very large animals roaming the area.

“I’m going to say the word ‘mature,’ ” Mr. Lutz said. “Very big. Aggressive.”

He continued: “We’ve got a little bit of a list compiled. Mainly there were grizzly bears and black bears there. There were cheetahs, there were lions and there were tigers. Those are the primary things that we would be concerned with.”

Mr. Lutz said that while he was not certain the farm’s owner, Mr. Thompson, was current on his permits, he had been in the past. But that seemed to offer little comfort to the sheriff.

“Let’s just say, it’s a little loose,” Mr. Lutz said of the permit process, “in my opinion.”
Lion shot on Ohio farm.

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