Lions and Tigers and Bears…Ohio!?

19 Oct

Imagine waking up to reports that your children’s schools have been closed for the day and your employer has urged that you stay home, and there isn’t even a single snowflake in sight or any inclement weather on the horizon.  Imagine still, that these precautions have been taken due not to a community woosah day, but because exotic wild animals are on the loose in your neighborhood!

Well, for the folks in rural Zanesville, Ohio this wasn’t a hypothetical situation at all, as many rose with the sun to news that wild animals had broken free from their cages last night on a Muskingum County wild animal preserve where, once authorities arrived on the scene, found the zoo owner Terry Thompson dead.  Further investigating found that the animals’ cages had been opened, and the preserves external fences were unsecure; a detail that had many morning show reports this a.m. speculating on what actually happened and what caused Thompson’s death at the site.

Of the 48 Lions, leopards, cheetahs, black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions and wolves (to name a few) that had escaped the privately owned zoo about 55 miles east of Columbus, close to 25 had been shot and killed Tuesday evening.  CNN interviewed legendary animal expert and the Columbus Zoo’s director emeritus Jack Hanna, who was asked to assist authorities in hunting and retrieving the animals, and he expressed remorse that so many animals had to be put down, but reiterated that in a scenario when escaped animals absconded into populated areas, human life had to be the priority.

But for as movie-ready as this unbelievable scenario has seemed, many neighbors who live near the preserve have not been surprised by the escape.  In 2006, it was reported that a lion had gotten loose from the small zoo, and over the years, many neighbors have called authorities complaining of hearing roaring and other deafening animal noises throughout the night.  Still, more than just the nuisance of living so close to such a bizarre place, neighbors said they have always been cautious and worried because although Thompson lived on the premises, he stayed in legal trouble regularly, due to his animal permits and the creatures getting out of their manufactured habitats all of the time.

Now, I will be the first to admit to being an avid fan zoos, Animal Planet and most things beastly (from afar of course), but the idea of having my very own Wizard of Oz scenario unfold right in my back yard would have me in complete and utter Cowardly Lion mode!

I mean, it’s clear that privately owning such a multitude of wild animals the way that Thompson did is legal in Ohio and many other states across the country, but when owners have been cited numerous times and proper precautions fail to be taken in caring for these animals (whose natural habitats are NOT somebody’s modified farm), perhaps the regulations surrounding the private ownership of such dangerous beasts should be revised and reinforced before the unthinkable were to happen; oh, wait…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: