Thompson released wildcats before suicide
It's a sad week in the big cat world as tigers, cheetahs and lions were killed by sheriff's deputies armed with assault rifles.
This occurred in Zanesville, Ohio on October 19 when Terry Thompson, owner of the animals, released them from their cages before committing suicide. At least forty eight animals have been killed and several still roam the neighborhoods surrounding the residence. Eighteen rare Bengal tigers, nine male lions, eight female lions and three mountain lions are among the dead.
A grizzly bear, three leopards and two monkeys were taken to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium after being captured alive. One monkey infected with herpes is believed to have been eaten by one of the big cats.
The Zainville County Sheriff Department, led by Matt Lutz, has a tough job as far as public safety vs. endangered animals is concerned. He released the following statement to CBS news. "There were so many animals running at large that I made the decision that we were not going to have wild animals running loose on our streets. There was no way of telling which animals would lay down, where these animals would end up."
TV personality and former director of the Columbus Zoo Jack Hanna, defended the decision to kill the animals.
Read more on the story here. Supporters are outraged the animals were shot and killed instead of tranquilized.
Here's a video released by the Associated Press.
Terry Thompson has been in trouble with the law in the past. He'd just finished a one year sentence on two federal counts of owning illegal firearms. And back in 2005 he was charged with cruelty to animals, where he was fined $2870 and sentenced to six months of house arrest.
Ohio has no laws governing the keeping of exotic animals. A petition has been started here.
How do the readers at pictures-of-cats.org feel about the keeping of wild animals outside of a zoo setting? How tough should the regulation be? Comments anyone?
I sincerely hope the laws are changed so this tragedy isn't repeated elsewhere.
Other source: http://www.peta.org/