Animals Loose in Ohio: Mayor of Zanesville Blasted for Exotic Animal Slaughter

Mayor of Zanesville, Ohio, Howard Zwelling, has received a lot of grief for the killing of 48 exotic animals, after a total of 56 were released from an animal preserve.

"I’ve had a lot of people calling and complaining, and some really nasty e-mails," the mayor said, according to

The Muskingum County sheriff deputies shot and killed these animals with high-powered rifles, in an attempt to protect the citizens of the town.

The mayor claimed the decision to shoot and kill the animals was out of his control, and that the next town's officers killed the animals.

"No city police made a shot, it was all the Sheriff deputies as he is the official of the county. No animal was spotted in the city limits, if there was one I’d have been alerted," said Zwelling.

One of the angry messages Zwelling received read, "Zanesville, Ohio is now a national disgrace. Your decision to slaughter those 48 animals who should never have been there in the first place is deplorable. Burn in Hell, Zanesville."

The mayor admitted the killing of the animals might have not been the wrong decision as the police officers was just trying to protect the population and themselves.

"I don’t know what the criteria was that he had in front of him at the time," he explained to RadarOnline. "I don’t know what I would have done if I'd been out in the field.

"Maybe I would have done the same, maybe not. I wasn’t there so I don’t know how dangerous the animals were. I haven’t been privy to any of the decision-making in this," Zwelling added.

Law enforcement initially did not have any tranquilizers on hand.

Sheriff Lutz explained, when tranquilizers arrived, they provided little help.

“We just had a huge tiger, an adult tiger, estimated at 300 pounds that was very aggressive,” he said.

They "got a veterinarian close enough to get a tranquilizer in it" Sheriff Matt Lutz said.

According to Lutz, the tiger became 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.

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