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Wild Animals Escape and Terrify Ohio Community [VIDEO]

Zanesville wild animals
The Columbus Dispatch

An Ohio man who owned an exotic animal farm released his animals to the wild and then committed suicide on Tuesday, according to police.

Farm owner Terry Thompson was found dead in his home near Columbus, OH by the sheriff’s deputies, who say his body had been disturbed by animals. Authorities will not comment on how Thompson killed himself.

Zanesville Wild Animals
Jay LaPrete, Getty Images

Police report that Thompson opened the cages and cut cage wire, setting 48 wild animals loose from his farm, including bears, lions and wolves. Authorities say they believe only three of the animals are still roaming the area today, a mountain lion, a grizzly bear and a monkey.

When deputies arrived at Thompson’s home, large animals were attempting to escape and had to be shot. Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz then issued a shoot-to-kill order for all of the animals, to protect public safety. Sheriff’s deputies have been collecting the recovered animals, which will likely be buried on Thompson’s property.

Jack Hanna, celebrity animal handler and director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, has called for the state to crack down on the possession, breeding and selling of exotic animals.

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[The Columbus Dispatch and ABC News]

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