Ohio Governor Exotic Animals Crackdown
November 9, 2011 by staff
Ohio Governor Exotic Animals Crackdown, The Ohio man who collected wild and rare animals admitted he was having a tough time taking care of them just days before he unleashed dozens of tigers, bears and lions into the countryside and killed himself.
A sheriff’s deputy visited Terry Thompson’s farm in eastern Ohio last week after a neighbor complained about his horses roaming away from the property where the wild animals were kept.
Records released Friday show Thompson said he had just gotten out of prison and didn’t have good control over the animals.
Thompson freed his 56 animals Tuesday before committing suicide. Police officers shot to death 48 of them in rural Ohio in the interest of public safety.
No one knows for sure why the 62-year-old Thompson did what he did.
Thompson had been home only a few weeks after spending a year in prison on a gun conviction when the deputy stopped by. He also was having marital problems and deep in debt to the IRS.
His estranged sister said he likely felt overwhelmed.
“I can just see him standing on that hill looking at every animal, thinking, ‘How am I going to do this?’” Polly Thompson told The Associated Press. “And I’m sure he thought, ‘Nobody wants me.’”
His death and the release of the animals put a spotlight on the lack of oversight of exotic pets in some states. Ohio has some of the nation’s weakest restrictions.
Gov. John Kasich on Friday ordered temporary measures to crack down on private ownership of exotic wild animals while tougher laws are drafted this fall.
Under his executive order, the state will work with health departments and humane societies to better enforce existing laws, try to temporarily halt auction sales of wild animals, shut down unlicensed auctions, and review existing permits the state issues to people who own wild animals.
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