Sadness and acceptance has fallen over the witnesses of the dozens of wild animals killed earlier this week in Zanesville, Ohio, with only one animal left unaccounted for.
Muskingum County Sheriff’s deputies shot 48 animals, including 18 rare tigers and 17 lions. Photographs of their dead and bloodied carcasses have horrified the nation, but animals rights group agreed that there was little authorities could have done to save the dangerous creatures.
Until late Wednesday, a wolf and monkey were still at large in the area. The wolf was discovered dead late Wednesday, leaving the monkey – the only animal not yet killed or captured.
“He was in the area where one of the cats actually killed one of the monkeys,” said Lutz, explaining that the last escaped primate may no longer be a concern. “We feel he could have been eaten by one of the cats.”
Animals killed also included six black bears, two grizzlies, a baboon, a wolf, and three mountain lions. Six animals: three leopards, a grizzly bear, and two monkeys, were safely captured and transferred to the Columbus Zoo.
Their owner, Terry Thompson, apparently released the animals before he committed suicide.
Thompson, described as an “animal collector,” referred to his operation as an animal shelter, and after serving a year for weapons offenses, was released from prison three weeks prior to his death.
“We feel that Mr. Thompson died from a self-inflicted wound,” said Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz during a press conference Wednesday.
“We do also feel that he release these animals at some point. Not only were the gates open, but some of the pens were also cut open,” said Lutz.
Lutz emphasized that the police “weren’t going to take any chances” when coming across the “mature, very big, aggressive” wild animals that posed a serious threat to the public.
“We are not talking about your everyday house cat or dog,” said the Sheriff. “These are 300-pound Bengal tigers we had to put down.”
Authorities revealed that the slain animals would be buried on Thompson’s property, which lies about 55 miles east of Columbus.