On October 18th of 2011, in Zanesville, Ohio, Terry Thompson deliberately released 56 of his exotic animals from his compound into the community – including lions, tigers, and bears – before he committed suicide. 48 of the escaped animals had to be shot by local authorities while two were eaten by the bigger animals. However, six animals were not killed and were taken to the Columbus Zoo. Almost immediately, Thompson’s widow hired a lawyer to get her animals back and has now won legal control of the survivors and will take them back to the very same hellish compound from which they came. For the Frog Blog's detailed coverage of this horrific tragedy in October, click here.
~ Zanesville residents worry about the return of wild animals.
It's clear the widow, Marian Thompson, is a hardheaded wingnut who should not get the animals back. But there are much darker and sadder reasons why the surviving exotic animals should stay at the Columbus Zoo. One important issue is that the wild animals on Thompson's farm were often not securely housed and were prone to escaping, posing a severe threat to the local residents of Zanesville and Muskingum County as a whole. In fact, Terry Thompson was cited nine times for letting animals run loose on his farm and his compound was visited by police 30 times since 2004. In 2005, he was convicted of animal cruelty.
~ Terry Thompson was a troubled, negligent man.
The conditions his animals had to endure were unspeakable. Wild animals that needed wide open spaces to roam were forced to be cooped up in small cages, full of feces and filth. Some of the primates were kept in bird cages. Some of the tigers were forced to live in cages that were only 6 feet tall, 8 feet wide, and 15 feet deep. And one of his bears was housed in a large parrot cage. In fact, that same bear survived and has gained 60 pounds since first being brought to the Columbus Zoo. Marian Thompson had full knowledge of the deplorable conditions at her husband's farm and therefore is unfit to care for the surviving animals.
Marian Thompson is planning to bring the five surviving animals (one died at the Columbus Zoo) back to the same house of horrors from which they came; and it has been reported that she has repeatedly denied animal welfare experts from inspecting the farm to see if the conditions there are safe for the animals and that the cages are secure enough to be no threat to the community.
~ Ohio's cruel trade in exotic/rare pets.
But out of this despicable mess may be a silver lining. Due to the Zanesville tragedy, Ohio legislators have significantly curbed the trade in exotic animals. And soon, humane standards will have to be followed before qualified people are allowed keep wild animals, hopefully protecting helpless creatures from abuse and neglect at the hands of callous idiots – people not unlike the Thompsons.
[Updated Insert – May 5, 2012: Yesterday, Marian Thompson transported the five surviving exotic animals by trailers from the Columbus Zoo back to the very same farm where the terrifying massacre took place on October 18, 2011. It has been reported that Marian Thompson has rejected requests from an inspector, a humane officer, and the sheriff to inspect the facilities on her farm. But Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said that at the first complaint, they will surely check into the matter. What, like last time, when neighbors called the police in horror over lions, tigers, leopards, bears, and wolves running amuck? Maybe phones should be installed in the cages so the animals could dial 911 and file a complaint if they were abused!]
~ Concerns and questions about conditions on the farm-from-hell.
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For related articles in the Frog Blog:
- Feral Cat Colony Found At Disneyland Click here.
- Shark Fin Sales Drop Up To 70% In China Click here.
- Asian Carps: Barbarians At The Gate! Click here.
- "Let The Panda Die Out": Wildlife Expert Click here.
- Escaped Python Kills Two Boys Click here.
- Film: Blackfish Exposes SeaWorld Cruelty Click here.
- Bluefin Tuna Sold For $1.7 Million! Click here.
- Justin Bieber Attacked Over His Monkey Click here.
- Moron Lets Infant Play With A Gorilla Click here.
- Prince William Attacks Rhino Poachers Click here.
- Bluefin Tuna Sold For A Record $736,000 Click here.
- 50 Exotic/Rare Animals Killed In Ohio Click here.