2011 Ohio exotic animal release
|2011 Ohio exotic animal release|
|Date||October 18, 2011|
|Target||Animals (by police)|
|Attack type||suicide, wide release of exotic animals causing panic|
|Deaths||1 person (Terry Thompson), 48 animals|
On October 18, 2011, near the Muskingum County Animal Farm preserve in Zanesville, Ohio, owner Terry Thompson set 56 of his exotic animals free before shooting himself in the head. Of the 56 animals released by Thompson, 48 were killed by the local police. The animals freed included lions, leopards, wolves, primates, bears, and 18 tigers. The animals confirmed to be dead are the 18 tigers, six black bears, two grizzlies, one wolf, one baboon, two mountain lions, nine male lions, and eight lionesses. As of 6 November 2013[update], one monkey is still missing. Three leopards, one grizzly bear, and two monkeys were left caged inside Thompson's home. These animals were tranquilized and sent to the Columbus Zoo. One of the surviving leopards was subsequently injured in an accident at the zoo and was euthanized. One monkey was eaten by a tiger, and a wolf was killed after being hit by a car.
Terry Thompson, a Vietnam veteran, was a lifelong collector of exotic animals. In the years leading up to his alleged suicide he went to prison on federal gun charges, was heavily in debt, and his wife had left him; he may also have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
PETA sharply criticized the Ohio laws which allowed the animals to be kept in captivity. Jack Hanna, TV wildlife expert and Director Emeritus of Columbus Zoo, lamented the killings but defended the police, saying that "it had to be done". Ohio governor John Kasich called for a temporary moratorium on the sale of exotic animals. In August 2012, Britain's Channel 4 broadcast a documentary on the animal release called 'America's Animal Hoarder: Horror at the Zoo", featuring footage of Thompson's animals and interviews with those who brought the situation under control. Animal Planet released an episode of "Fatal Attractions" on Thompson's conflict and suicide. Following the dramatic massacre BuyTigers.com, a prank site pretending to sell tigers, received a massive growth in daily traffic and new media coverage. A petition was therefore started to the President of the United States asking the prosecution of the site.
- Muskal, Michael (January 18, 2012). "Ohio farmer spoke of troubles before freeing exotic animals". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- Leckrone, Jim (19 October 2011). "Freed tigers, lions and bears cause panic in Ohio". Reuters. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
- "Owner of exotic animal preserve known for guns, run-ins with law". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-10-19.
- "Ohio sheriff: Only one monkey remains missing". CBS News. Retrieved 2011-10-19.
- "Bears, tigers, lions and wolves escape from Ohio zoo". BBC. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
- "Leopard from exotic animal farm dies in Ohio zoo". USA Today. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- Home - WCMH: News, Weather, and Sports for Columbus, OH
- "Exotic Animal Owner Terry Thompson: What Happened?". people.com. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- "Four Dozen Dead in Ohio". PETA.org. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
- "Jack Hanna on Zanesville, Ohio, Animals: ‘We Would Have Had Carnage’ - ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. 2011-10-19. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
- Ingles, Jo (2011-10-21). "Ohio governor takes steps on exotic animals". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
- America's Animal Hoarder: Horror at the Zoo - America's Animal Hoarder: Horror at the Zoo - Channel 4
- Lynch, Rene (October 20, 2011.) "Exotic animals: 18 tiger deaths a cruel blow to imperiled species." Los Angeles Times. Accessed October 2011.
- Heath, Chris (March 2012.) 18 Tigers, 17 Lions, 8 Bears, 3 Cougars,2 Wolves, 1 Baboon, 1 Macaque, and 1 Man Dead in Ohio. GQ Magazine. Accessed February 2012.
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