Incidents involving exotic animals kept in private may appear to be an oddity but, according to Born Free USA, a national animal advocacy and wildlife organization, they are not rare. In fact, this week's incident in Ohio could be a cautionary tale for states across the country.
Link: Akron News Now
The tragedy that unfolded for the exotic animals near Zanesville, Ohio on Tuesday night and Wednesday highlighted the lack of regulation in Ohio for a particular type of animal compound. Terry Thompson kept bears, tigers, lions, monkeys, and other animals on his property. He reportedly did not display them to the public for compensation, and was not required to carry a permit from the USDA. And an Ohio state law regulating exotic animals had expired.
Link: Michigan NPR
Central Ohio has made the national news again. It's not for The Ohio State University's football team or even for a campaign stop by a political bigwig. News reporters and residents are scratching their heads over the odd news that there lions, bears, wolves and more running free in the Zanesville area.
ZANESVILLE, Ohio - Amid expressions of horror and revulsion at the killing of dozens of wild animals in Ohio — and photographs of their bloody carcasses — animal rights advocates agreed there was little local authorities could have done to save the dangerous creatures once they began roaming the countryside after their owner released them before taking his own life.
Link: CBS News
ZANESVILLE, Ohio — The woman’s voice sounded a little annoyed. “There’s a bear and a lion out,” she told the 911 operator on Tuesday. “Right up behind us.” Come again? the operator said. “Yeah,” the caller replied. “They’re chasing Terry’s horses.”
Link: New York Times
Ohio has some of the nation's loosest laws concerning exotic animals, and after the tragedy in Zanesville Wednesday, those laws are under even greater scrutiny from animal-rights activists and the press. So is Gov. John Kasich, the Republican serving the first year of his first term, who declined to extend a policy that would have shut down Terry Thompson's farm.
Born Free USA was out in force Wednesday when news about the exotic animals incident in central Ohio — in which dozens of wildlife who had been held captive in a rural resident’s backyard were impetuously released by their suicidal captor, then mostly shot dead by law enforcement officers — dominated the news cycle. Among the many interviews with print, radio and TV journalists by Born Free USA representatives was Executive Vice President Adam M. Roberts’ appearance on CNN with Erin Burnett. Watch as Roberts stands toe-to-toe with another Ohio man who has a long history of exploiting exotic animals by presenting them as caged tourist attractions. Read, hear and see us also on ABC, Agence France-Presse/Yahoo! News, BBC, CNN Opinion, the Los Angeles Times and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
This week's incident involving escaped exotic animals in Ohio is a call to action against private possession of wildlife. Our chief executive officer, Will Travers, calls it a "horrific situation" that should "serve as a brutal reminder that wildlife belong in the wild and that no one should ever put the animals or the public at risk by trying to confine them in a zoo, circus, backyard or home, where serious injury or death can occur at any time." Born Free USA tracks such cases through its online database, which lists some 1,600 attacks and incidents reported nationwide. Please consider helping us in our multifaceted efforts to ban the private ownership of exotics by making a generous donation today.