After dozens of animals escaped a 73 acre private collection today, October 18, 2011, in Zanesville, Ohio, 48 have been shot dead after their owner died and the gates to their enclosures were opened. These animals, at no fault of their own, have threatened the safety of people and domesticated animals in the surrounding regions and had to pay for this with their lives.
Ohio has some of the most lax regulation of exotic pets, and after this disaster, it is apparent that this lack of regulation has been a threat to public safety and the welfare of the animals for too long. The collection of animals had been considered a bad situation for a quite some time by local law enforcement, but there was nothing that they could do to stop their owner, Terry Thompson, from keeping the animals nor to push preventative measures onto the property.
And these animals aren't the only ones, hundreds of exotics are currently being kept as pets in the state without any regulation. Ohio is one of less than 10 states in the US that do not regulate the ownership of exotic animals. Owning a wild animal is difficult and causes them suffering with a lack of proper knowledge as to the handling and care of these animals by their owners. Wild animals have been known to attack, maim, and kill humans and domesticated animals without any warning and due to these circumstances, law enforcement have no choice but to destroy them.
The best thing we can do for the exotics and ourselves is to keep them in their wild, natural habitats where they belong by outlawing their sale and ownership in Ohio.