Animals Loose in Ohio: Exotic Animals to be Quarantined

Marian Thompson, wife of Terry Thompson, attempted to take back her remaining six animals from the Columbus Zoo Thursday, but the Ohio Department of Agriculture has presented a quarantine order, which will keep the animals in the zoo indefinitely.

The three leopards, two Celebes macaques and a young grizzly bear are the only six animals remaining after Zanesville, Ohio authorities had no choice but to kill 48 exotic animals after they were set free from their 46-acre Muskingum County Animal Farm on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Terry Thompson took his life shortly after he released the animals from their cages – which included: 18 Bengal tigers, 17 lions, six black bears, two grizzly bears, three mountain lions, a baboon and one wolf.

Animal expert Jack Hanna, who helped the Zanesville sheriff’s department track the freed animals, told CBS he spoke with Marian Thompson and consoled her after her husband took his own life.

“I understood she was very upset at me for taking her 'children' ... for someone killing her children,” Hanna said.

Hanna ultimately concluded that with 45 minutes till darkness Tuesday evening and only four tranquilizers, there was no other choice for the Sheriff’s department but to kill the animals. He described it as the worst thing that has happened in his 40-year career with animals.

A handwritten order signed by a veterinarian outlines the reason for extending the stay of the animals at the zoo.

“To conduct a full and appropriate investigation as to the health status of these animals,” the quarantine read.

The reason for quarantine is specified as a prevention of “dangerous contagious or infectious disease.”

One of the macaques is said to be carrying the Herpes B virus.

Agricultural Director of Ohio James Zehringer signed the quarantine. Thompson will be able to appeal the order in 30 days.

In defense for killing the animals, Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said, “We are not talking about your normal everyday house cat or dog, 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.”

According to police records, Terry Thompson had a history of animal abuse, yet was allowed to continue running his menagerie. Ohio government promises far stricter laws concerning the ownership of exotic animals after the incident.

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