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56 exotic animals escaped from farm near Zanesville; 49 killed by authorities; owner found dead

Animal farm owner released the animals, then killed himself… All he had to do was call the authorities and they would have come to get these animals and taken them to the Columbus Zoo

ZANESVILLE, Ohio —Authorities say that in all, 56 exotic animals escaped from a farm in Muskingum County last night, and one could still be missing this afternoon.

Of those animals, 49 were killed. Six animals — a grizzly bear, three leopards and two monkeys — were captured alive and taken to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and a monkey and a grey wolf were at large. The animals that were killed included 18 tigers, nine male lions, eight female lions, six black bears, three mountain lions, two grizzly bears, one baboon and two wolves, Sheriff Matt Lutz said. The escaped monkey poses a danger because it is infected with herpes, the sheriff said.

The sheriff said it is possible that the missing monkey was eaten by a large cat.

The owner of the farm, Terry Thompson, was found dead last night on his property. Authorities say Thompson opened the cage doors and cut the wires on the cages, then killed himself. He died from a gunshot wound. Lutz said Thompson’s body was "bothered" by the animals.

Lutz had previously said a grizzly bear, a wolf and a mountain lion were missing. Today, authorities confirmed they killed the bear on the property last night. The wolf was later found dead; it had been shot last night. An officer wounded the mountain lion, which staggered into a neighbor’s property and died.

Thompson’s wife has returned to the farm and is talking to authorities. Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, said the wife begged authorities not to take her "babies," but he convinced her to let the animals go and work it out later.

"I held her, I felt her shock. Her animals are gone. Her family is gone. Everything in her life is gone," Hanna said.

The animals that were killed by authorities likely will be buried on Thompson’s property.

Lutz defended the shooting of the escaped animals. He said when deputies arrived at the house, there were large animals trying to escape. The deputies had to shoot them with their sidearms.

"Public safety was my No. 1 concern," Lutz said. "I gave the order that if the animals looked like they were going to get out, they were going down."
Hanna called this morning for the state to enact regulations to crack down on the possession, breeding and selling of exotic animals.
"I went to school at Muskingum (College)," he said. "It’s like Noah’s ark wrecked."

Hanna said he has talked to the governor’s office about enacting stricter exotic animal laws.

"We need to set an example in the state of Ohio," he said. "There was a loss of life here, and we thank God it was not human life. It was animal life, and that’s my life."

Hanna also defended the deputies shooting the animals.

The deputies were assisted by the State Highway Patrol, authorities from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the Wilds, the state Division of Wildlife, the county Emergency Management Agency and township fire departments.

A plan to bring in a patrol helicopter with a thermal-imaging camera to find animals last night was scuttled last night by stormy weather.

Zanesville, West Muskingum and Maysville school districts, as well as Muskingum County Starlight School, all canceled classes for Wednesday to keep children inside. Lutz also recommends that residents remain inside today and call 911 if any wild animal is seen.Lutz said the incident began about 5:30 p.m., when the sheriff’s office began receiving calls that wild animals were running loose in the area of Kopchak Road, which is in Falls Township and just west of Zanesville.

Lutz said that four deputies with assault rifles in a pickup truck immediately went to 270 Kopchak Rd., where a 46-acre “wild-animal-rescue farm” owned by Thompson borders I-70.

There, Lutz said, they found Thompson dead outside his house and “every single animal-cage door open.”Lutz said the deputies saw a number of animals standing outside their cages, still on the property, while others had escaped a fence that surrounds Thompson’s property. Deputies immediately began shooting animals, he said.

Lutz said the fence on Thompson’s property isn’t designed to keep in wild animals.

Lutz said a man who is a caretaker on the animal preserve told deputies that 48 animals lived in cages outside the house on the property. More animals — mostly monkeys, baboons and apes — lived inside Thompson’s house, the man said.

Those inside the house were still in the cages, Lutz said.

Late last night, there was a report of a wolf and a bear still roaming at least 4 miles from the farm property. One animal was struck by a car and later killed.

The Licking County Sheriff’s Office also received at least four phone calls from residents reporting exotic-animal sightings. SWAT officers with night-vision equipment were searching for animals in Licking County early this morning.

Lutz said Muskingum County deputies had fatally shot and killed at least 25 animals when they first drove to the property. A wolf and bear also reportedly were killed along I-70.

Video:  Muskingum Alumni Jack Hanna Hunt Exotic Animals on the Loose in Zanesville, Ohio 10.19.11

He said that officials from the Columbus Zoo and The Wilds came in shortly after the discovery with tranquilizer guns, hoping to capture some animals alive.

Thompson, 62, was released from federal prison just three weeks ago, after serving a one-year term.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had raided Thompson’s Kopchak Road property in June 2008, seizing more than 100 guns. In April 2010, Thompson pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Columbus to two federal charges: possession of a machine gun and possession of short firearms without serial numbers.

Under terms of his release, Thompson was confined to his home for a year.

Thompson also was convicted in Muskingum County Municipal Court in 2005 of cruelty to animals, having an animal at large and two counts of rendering animal waste without a license. The charges stemmed from allegations that three cows and a bison had died on another property he owned, on Boggs Road in Perry Township, east of Zanesville.

Neighbors there had lodged numerous complaints about him letting his animals wander. Thompson was put on house arrest for six months and paid a $2,870 fine in that case. He also was ordered to move his animals to his Kopchak Road land.

Ohio has no rules regulating the sale and ownership of exotic animals.

Former Gov. Ted Strickland had attempted to enforce such a law, but Gov. John Kasich allowed an executive order to expire.

“There really needs to be some legislation changed on how these things are going on in the state of Ohio,” Lutz said.

Kate Riley, 20, who lives in western Muskingum County, said that Thompson has had lions, tigers and a bear get loose in the past.

Riley’s family owns a feed cattle farm nearby and said that Thompson would come and take their dead cows to feed his lions.

“He’d have claw marks all over him,” she said.

Riley said she understands that Thompson’s wife, Marian, recently left her husband and moved out.

Patti Peters, a spokeswoman for the Columbus Zoo, said staff members were at a dinner last night for the International Rhino Foundation when they heard about the incident. Five staff members from the zoo and the Wilds immediately went to help, she said.

Larry Hostetler, executive director of the Animal Shelter Society of Muskingum County, said the sheriff’s office and state officials had visited the Kopchak Road property in 2008 on a complaint that animals weren’t being taken care of there. The inspection, however, found acceptable treatment, Hostetler said.

Adelbert G. Kempf Jr, a retired veterinarian in Heath, said he inspected Thompson’s horses that day. He said that Thompson told him that he was running a rescue operation for horses.

“ He was far from that,” Hostetler said. “He was more of an animal collector.”

At one point, Thompson took three lion cubs to New York City for a photo shoot with model Heidi Klum. On another occasion, he brought animals to a 2007 community pet fair in Muskingum County. Thompson and his wife brought bear cubs, lions cubs and a baby ape, Hostetler said.

He said the wild animals disrupted the fair because they weren’t friendly.

“We had to change the advertisement in following years to say bring your domestic pets,” Hostetler said. “He was a piece of work.”

By  Josh Jarman Quan Truong Jim Woods and  Brenda Jackson Dispatch staff reporter Kathy Lynn Gray also contributed to this story.  jjarman@dispatch.com, jwoods@dispatch.com, jackson@dispatch.com

h/t to the Columbus Dispatch

October 21, 2011 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Unusual Stories, Wild Animals | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

White Tiger: Needs Some Compassion and Help

Sanctuary’s rare white tiger needs life-saving surgery

A little compassion for the tiger.  Even $10.00 would help with surgical costs.

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MIKE CHRISTY/The Gazette -  Snow Magic, a Bengal Snow tiger, pokes his head out of his enclosure Friday at the Serenity Springs Wildlife Center in Calhan. After suffering a spinal aneurysm, Snow Magic will undergo a leg amputation that facility owner Nick Sculac believes will improve the big cat’s quality of life.

October 14, 2011 6:45 PM

He’s a rare stripeless white tiger.

And he is facing a medical procedure uncommon for his species.

Ten-year-old Snow Magic is scheduled to soon have a life-saving amputation of his paralyzed rear left leg, but it will be expensive and somewhat complicated. A special operating table must be built to fit him, and he’ll need a sterile enclosure to keep him tightly confined while he recuperates. Then, he’ll need a handicap accessible enclosure to live in.

A fundraising effort is under way to cover the costs.

The 500-pound tiger was retired from magic shows in Las Vegas about three years ago and has since lived at Serenity Springs Wildlife Center near Calhan with about 120 other big cats and other exotics.

Snow is adored by the staff and visitors. He loves swimming in a water tank and makes soft, friendly “chuffing” noises at visitors. He particularly enjoys his meals and anxiously awaits dinner time, so, spoiled cat that he is, he gets his raw meat before any of the other cats.

On Friday, Snow Magic peered from his den, then made a cameo appearance, walking around his enclosure with his useless left leg dragging in the dirt. He chomped down a huge hunk of meat, and emitted some definitely non-gimpy roars.

There are two types of white tigers — those that are white with greyish and black stripes and those that are stripeless. Although firm numbers are hard to come by, exotic animal experts say there could be 300 or more of the striped ones in the United States. Stripeless ones like Snow Magic are more rare. Nick Sculac, owner of Serendipity Springs, says he’s seen estimates for the cats as low as around 20 in the United States.

White  tigers are created when the recessive gene for the color is inherited from both parents. Starting in the 1960s,  several  zoos had breeding programs. But in recent years, the American Zoological and Aquariaum Association has asked zoos not to breed them because defects are common. The Captive Wildlife Safety Act bans commerce in dangerous exotics for pets.

Serenity Springs is often called on by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take animals that are confiscated. It is the largest federal and state licensed big cat placement center in Colorado, and the only one with a state zoological license.

Sculac says Snow Magic’s medical problems began two years ago when he suffered a spinal aneurism that paralyzed his back legs. Veterinarians used steroids, acupuncture and massages to heal his right leg, but the treatment did not help the left. He had been able to walk stiffly without use of the left leg. But the muscle has deteriorated so much the hip is dislocated.

The medical choices for Snow Magic were to try surgery or euthanize him. “Since he is a healthy cat otherwise, we believe he deserves the opportunity,” said Julie Walker, who helps run the sanctuary. Such animals can live 25 years or more.

Veterinarian Melanie Marsden of Pikes Peak Veterinary Clinic, who provided care when Snow Magic recovered from the aneurism, will do the surgery. She is consulting with big cat specialists.

“We’ve done 150-pound dogs and they do well,” she said. “They take about an hour. For Snow, we anticipate two hours best case scenario. Recovery should be pretty straightforward.”

The medical team will do the surgery in the veterinary clinic on the sanctuary grounds.
Sculac is soldering a new top for a surgery table to fit the big cat because his leg must be stretched out.

Caring for him afterward will be a bit tricky.

“A wild animal doesn’t necessary like nursing care,” Marsden said.

They are building a sterile enclosure attached to the clinic for better access to give medications and take care of the incision. Snow will have around the clock care for several weeks.

Dogs and cats that have surgery usually hate wearing those plastic collars to keep them away from their wounds. It probably won’t be any different for Snow Magic. Marsden calls the devices, the “cone of shame.” They will have to fashion an inner tube size contraption so he can’t turn his head and pull off the bandages.

The sanctuary staff will build a special accessible enclosure for Snow. Instead of a water tank swimming pool, he will have a ground-level pool he can step into without jumping. The den will be ground level, too. They will sod the area and add shredded rubber for soft cushioning.

They estimate the cost of everything will be around $25,000, including the surgery. The cost of 12-foot high chain fencing alone is about $4,000.

So far, donors have chipped in $5,650 for Snow Magic. 


Contact Carol McGraw: 636-0371 Twitter @mcgrawatgazette Facebook Carol McGraw  – h/t to Anglo at Sovereignty in Colorado

Source: The Gazette

October 15, 2011 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, We Are All God's Creatures, Wild Animals | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

White Tiger Cubs Get New Mom

THIS IS SO CUTE!

When hurricane Hannah separated two white tigers from their mother, Anjana came to the Rescue.

Anjana, a chimp at TIGERS in South Carolina, became surrogate mom and playmate to the cubs, even helping with bottle feeding, according to The Sun.  But here’s the truly amazing part:   This is something Anjana does all the time, having helped raised leopard and lion cubs on several occasions.

These pics are truly gorgeous.

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Photos like these should show all of us that animals have a lot more to give and a lot more intelligence than many humans give them credit for.

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I love this photo!!!

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This little gal reminds me sooo much of my niece who also works with Animals!

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“Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

August 5, 2010 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Animals Adopting Animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pets, Success Stories, Unusual Stories | , , , | Leave a comment

Dachshund Adopts Tiger Cub At German Zoo

A tiger cub was adopted by a wirehaired dachshund at a small zoo in Germany

A tiger cub born last weekend at Germany’s Stroehen Zoo has already experienced the loss of two mother figures in its short life.  The cub was rejected by its mother shortly after its birth.  Things began looking up when the cub was adopted by Monster, a wirehaired dachshund that belonged to the zoo’s owners.  Then Monster also died (read below).

After Monster’s death, his daughter Bessi (shown here with the cub) took over mothering duties — indeed, a zoo representative said she “fell in love” with the infant and has proved a capable guardian.

More photos of Bessi and her as-yet-unnamed charge after the jump!

A tiger cub was adopted by a wirehaired dachshund at a small zoo in Germany

A tiger cub was adopted by a wirehaired dachshund at a small zoo in Germany

— Associated Press

German tiger cub loses second “mother” in three days

Stroehen, Germany – A tiger cub born in a German zoo at the weekend and rejected by its mother has experienced a further tragedy, as a dachshund which adopted the newborn was run over by a postman’s van, the zoo reported Wednesday.

‘We are totally shocked, he only wanted to go out to do his business,’ said Almuth Ismer, of the dog’s death. Ismer is the tiger cub’s carer at Stroehen Zoo in Lower Saxony.

The nine-year-old dog, named Monster, had shown great affection in caring for the tiger cub, which was twice its size.

The fatal accident happened Tuesday afternoon on a gravel path outside the home of the Ismer family. The only vehicle to frequent the quiet road was the daily post delivery, zoo director Nils Ismer said.

The dog appeared not to have seen the vehicle, as he was healthy and ‘always responded to his name,’ Ismer said.

The tiger cub has now been adopted by Monster’s one-year-old daughter Bessi, which ‘fell in love’ with the young predator after the death of its father, the zoo said.

It was unusual for such a young dog to develop maternal instincts, the zoo added. It is not uncommon, however, for dogs to adopt and raise other animals.

The German public had previously been captivated by the similarly tragic tale of Knut the polar bear, whose mother also rejected him shortly after birth. The unfortunate ursus then lost his human keeper to a heart attack, but retained his media stardom.

 

Posted:  Just One More Pet

May 22, 2009 Posted by | animals, Animals Adopting Animals, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pet Friendship and Love, Success Stories, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment