Muskingum County Animal Farm
October 19, 2011 by staff
Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz (boots), said at a news conference Wednesday that researchers feel Terry Thompson died of a self-inflicted wound. Lutz said authorities are awaiting autopsy results on the cause of death.
The sheriff says it looks like Thompson left the door of the animals, open and even open their feathers so they would leave. Animals including lions and bears.
Officers found Thompson’s body on Tuesday, when they went to the farm on Tuesday on reports of wild animals running freely.
Officials spent the night hunting and shooting death of most of the nearly 50 animals.
Schools closed and motorists were warned to stay in their official vehicles with assault rifles on Wednesday hunting bears, big cats and other animals that escaped from a menagerie after the owner was found dead and tens of housing cages of dangerous animals were left open.
Officials had orders to shoot to kill, because officials said it was not safe to reassure the animals in the dark.
Authorities are investigating whether farm animals Muskingum County owner Terry Thompson committed suicide after the release of animals, and officials spent the night hunting and shooting to death of nearly 30 of the 48 animals.
As authorities warned that more animals in the districts were still loose in the school three in the region and some private schools canceled classes and special as the rest of the bears, big cats and other farm animals Muskingum County were persecuted.
Illuminated signs along roads in the area said motorists, “Exotic Animal Care” and “Stay in the vehicle.”
Animal cages were opened and the fences of the farm was out of warranty, police said. It was “very possible” that Thompson left the cage open, Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said.
Lutz told the NBC “Today” that the authorities were awaiting autopsy results on the owner of the property. Lutz had said earlier that death was not suspicious.
“Once dawn arrives here, we will again have an accounting of how many animals are put down, many animals are still locked,” said sheriff NBC.
The reserve in Zanesville, about 55 miles east of Columbus, were lions, tigers, leopards, lions, giraffes, camels and bears. Police said the bears and wolves were among the animals that escaped were killed and there were multiple sightings of exotic animals along a nearby road.
Lutz called the animals “mature, very large and aggressive” but said a security guard told authorities that the animals had been fed on Monday.
On Tuesday night, more than 50 law enforcement officers – including sheriff’s deputies, officers from the Highway Patrol, police and officials from the State Division of Wildlife – patrolled the 40-acre farm and its surroundings in cars and trucks, often in rainfall. Lutz said they were concerned about big cats and bears hidden among the trees and dark.
Neighbor Danielle White, whose father owned reserve adjacent to the animal, said he did not see the animals on this occasion, but in 2006, when a lion escaped.
“It has always been the fear that is mine (the owner of the preserve) had all the animals,” he said. “I have kids.”
Lutz said his office began receiving phone calls at 5:30 pm Tuesday that wild animals loose, west of Zanesville on a road that runs under Interstate 70.
He said four deputies with assault rifles in a truck went to the farm animals, where Thompson is the owner dead and all the doors open animal cages.
He declined to say how he died, but Thompson said several aggressive animals were near his body when the deputies arrived and had to be sacrificed.
Thompson, who lived on the property, orangutans and chimpanzees had at home, but they were still in their cages, Lutz said.
Members, who saw many other animals standing outside their cages and others who had escaped beyond the fence surrounding the property, began to shoot at sight.
Columbus Zoo employees went to the scene, hoping to tranquilize and capture the animals after dawn on Wednesday. Zoo Director Emeritus, Jack Hanna television presenter, said that was something that could not be done in the dark.
“You can calm an animal like this, a bear or a leopard or a tiger (at night),” Hanna told ABC’s “Good Morning America on Wednesday.” If you do that, the animal becomes very excited, goes and hides, and then there’s his (Lutz) official in danger of losing his life, and others. ”
Lutz said his main concern was the protection of the public in rural areas, where houses sit on large lots of 10 acres at times.
White, a resident of the box, Thompson said he had legal problems, and police said they had recently left prison.
“He was in hot water because of the animals due to permissions, and (animals) escaping all the time,” said White. A few weeks ago, he said, had to avoid some camels grazing on the side of a highway.
In a nearby Moose Lodge, Bill Thompson Weiser recalled as an interesting character, who flew planes, ships and ran own custom motorcycle shop that also sold firearms.
“I was pretty unique,” said Weiser. “I had a different view on things. I never knew what hurt anyone, and took care of the animals.”
Weiser said he regretted that the animals have escaped being killed. “It’s breaking my heart, the animals were shot,” he said.
Bailey Hartman, 20, night manager at McDonald also said she was saddened that the animals were firing. However, he said, “I was kind of afraid to go to work.”
Hartman said Thompson’s wife, who no longer lives with him, was her teacher in middle school and used to carry small animals such as monkeys, snakes and owls to school. “He was a once a year to start, and everyone is always excited,” he recalled.
Thompson had permission to keep four black bears, said Laura Jones, a spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources Ohio. The department licenses only native species, Jones said Wednesday.
Ohio has some of the weaker nation restrictions on exotic animals, and among the largest number of injuries and deaths caused by them.
In the summer of 2010, an animal keeper was killed by a bear in a property in Cleveland. The guard opened the cage of the bear in the ownership of exotic animals-keeper Sam Mazzola to a feeding routine.
Although animal-welfare activists wanted Mazzola accused of reckless homicide, the death of a caregiver was declared an accident. The bear was later destroyed.
This summer, Mazzola was found dead in a water bed, wearing a mask and arms and legs restricted in their home town of Colombia, about 15 miles southwest of Cleveland.
It was unclear how many animals are kept on the property when he died, but he had said in a filing for bankruptcy in May 2010 that he owned four tigers, a lion, bears and wolves December 8. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had revoked his license to exhibit animals after animal welfare activists, campaigned to stop letting other people struggle with their bears.
Mazzola had permits for nine bears in 2010, the Department of Natural Resources of Ohio, said. The state requires permits for bears, but does not regulate the ownership of nonnative animals such as lions and tigers.
The Humane Society of the United States on Wednesday urged Ohio to issue immediate emergency restrictions on the sale and possession of dangerous wild animals. ”
“How many incidents must catalog before the State to take measures to end private ownership of dangerous exotic animals,” said the Humane Society, Wayne Pacelle said in a statement.
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