A wild animal preserve owner in Zanesville, Ohio, released about 56 animals right before taking his life, by way of gunshot Tuesday night. Dozens of the exotic animals have been killed, as police try to gain control of the situation.
People were told to stay inside and kids were told to stay home from school Wednesday morning, as the 55 mile rural area was scoured by police officers with assault rifles.
An estimated 56 animals were released including lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, and wolves.
"It's like Noah's Ark wrecking right here in Zanesville, Ohio," said celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna who attended a morning conference with the sheriff.
The mayor of the county, Howard Zwelling, received a phone call around 9:30 p.m. EST describing the crazy scene of roaming free wild animals.
Zwelling said the deputies were shooting animals at close range with firearms because there were no tranquilizers. With safety as the police's main concern, they used what ever means necessary to put the animals down.
When tranquilizers arrived, they provided little help, "we just had a huge tiger, an adult tiger, estimated at 300 pounds that was very aggressive.
They "got a veterinarian close enough to get a tranquilizer in it" Sheriff Matt Lutz said. He then described the tiger getting aggressive and out of control, "our officer had to put it down."
Preserve owner Terry Thompson broke open all of the animal’s cages just so the animals could not be put back in the cages.
Thompson's wife was not home at the time and initially could not be reached, however reports say she is on her way back to the home to determine what to do with the remaining animals.
Forty eight animals are reported to be dead, six have been captured, and two are still at large, a monkey and a wolf.
This wasn't the first time an animal has escaped the preserve, with one incident of an escaped lion occurring in 2006.
Jack Hanna says the living conditions of these animals were deplorable and he will do everything in his power to put these people out of business.