Ohio authorities round up almost all loose animals - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Ohio authorities round up almost all loose animals


MUSKINGUM CO., OH (CNN) -- Officials in eastern Ohio say they have accounted for almost all of the 56 exotic animals that went loose Tuesday night.

Most of the animals, which included numerous bears, lions and tigers, were killed.

One monkey is still on the loose.

The owner of the farm they escaped from was found dead, after apparently committing suicide.

Officials say they are very close to having the public safety threat in the area under control.

Almost all of the exotic animals that went loose from the Muskingum County animal farm in Zanesville Tuesday night have been accounted for.

"We have confirmed that the missing bear and the missing mountain lion that we could not account for -- they have been recovered," Sheriff Matt Lutz of Muskingum County said. "Both have been put down."

The owner of the farm, Terry Thompson, was found dead from a gunshot wound.

Officials say they believe Thompson released the animals from their pens, and then took his own life.

Authorities say Thompson recently served time on federal weapons charges.

His farm was well-known to area law enforcement.

"We've handled numerous complaints here," Lutz said. "We've done numerous inspections here. We've brought in professionals from outside our county to look at this property to make sure it's safe."

Deputies have worked non-stop to hunt down the escaped animals.

Most of the animals were killed. The local sheriff says that was a matter of public safety.

"We are not talking about your normal everyday house cat or dog," Lutz said. "These are 300-pound bengal tigers that we've had to put down. When we got here, obviously, public safety was my number one concern."

"I want people to understand my heart aches for these animals," Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of Columbus Zoo said. "But also our hearts could be aching today for a lot of people who could have lost their lives."

The Humane Society of the United States says it does not fault authorities for using force.

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