Authorities say that in all, 56 exotic animals escaped from a farm in Muskingum County last night, and one could still be missing this afternoon.This really is a tragedy of epic proportions even aside from the clearly troubled man who released the animals and then killed himself. The world can do without the lions. Lions are a dime a dozen and breed like alley cats in captivity. Tigers are rarer and more problematical. There are few enough left that every gene counts.
Of those animals, 49 were killed. Six animals -- a grizzly bear, three leopards and two monkeys -- were captured alive and taken to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and a monkey and a grey wolf were at large. The animals that were killed included 18 tigers, nine male lions, eight female lions, six black bears, three mountain lions, two grizzly bears, one baboon and two wolves, Sheriff Matt Lutz said. The escaped monkey poses a danger because it is infected with herpes, the sheriff said.
The sheriff said it is possible that the missing monkey was eaten by a large cat.
The owner of the farm, Terry Thompson, was found dead last night on his property. Authorities say Thompson opened the cage doors and cut the wires on the cages, then killed himself. He died from a gunshot wound. Lutz said Thompson's body was "bothered" by the animals.
It's sad the that authorities didn't spend a little more time figuring out how to capture instead of kill these animals. As bad as it sounds having lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) running around on the loose, there are places in the world people live where that's rather routine.
And, can you imagine being a deputy sheriff being asked to face a lion, tiger or grizzly bear with your service revolver?