Lifeless carcasses killed by police -- lions, bengal tigers and bears -- lined the driveway of an exotic farm in Zanesville, Ohio, after the owner, Terry Thompson, freed them and then died after a self-inflicted shot to the head less than a month after his release from prison on a weapons charge.
So far, 49 animals have been killed, including 18 Bengal tigers, 17 lions, six black bears, a pair of grizzlies, three mountain lions, two wolves and a baboon. Six animals, three leopards, a grizzly bear and two monkeys were tranquilized and rescued by the Columbus Zoo.
In the meantime, Twitter tweets chirped louder than usual with mixed reactions over the killing of so many animals.
hellodyee Just watched Jack Hanna interview on Anderson Cooper, really dumbfounded about wild animal situation in Zanesville. Photo is hard to see.
alexroseperry I'm incredibly sad for all those wild animals killed in zanesville, ohio :(
MsInkredible_ did they really have to kill the wild animals in zanesville, I know there were other options.
lindseybuck I feel bad for all of the wild animals in OH-not their fault their life was the way it was, so hopefully theyre in safari Heaven
Animal expert and TV personality Jack Hanna was on the scene during part of the killings. "It’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life,” he said. “What happened here last night had to be done or else we would have had some major losses of human life here this morning. And I won’t forget what happened here today as long as I ever live.”
Who would've thought the big animal advocate, Jack Hanna, would support law enforcement's choice to hunt the helpless exotic creatures down?
It all started Tuesday evening about 5:30 p.m. when authorities received their first calls alerting them to the problem. People driving on a nearby highway said they spotted wild animals running loose. Police officers rushed to the property; they were all too familiar with it after having numerous complaints over the years about loose animals.
As soon as they drove up they were faced with their first moment of decision: to shoot or wait for zoo officials to show up with tranquilizer guns? That was the question...
With only about two hours of daylight left, police decided they needed to take action. "Public safety was my number one concern," Sheriff Matt Lutz said at a news conference. He instructed his deputies to shoot any animals that threatened to escape. "We could not have animals running loose in this county," he said.
Actions by the Ohio police have caused an outcry from animal advocates to celebrities. Twitter has been alive with people tweeting their response to the numerous animals killed from Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon, according to Eonline.
Dancing with the Stars judgewrote, "So upset about what happened in Ohio!!! I think they could have tried harder to save the animals. It wasn't their fault. :("
On the other side, wildlife expert Jack Hanna used his social networking resources on Twitter and Facebook and posted, "I am so saddened by the tragedy in Zanesville, OH. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Wilds and I are doing all we can to help the situation on the ground. As always, public safety has to be the first priority. Our team is hoping to assist in the safe rescue of as many of these animals as possible."
President of the United States' Humane Society, Wayne Pacelle, said "Ohio is among 10 states with the weakest restrictions on exotic pets--it's become ground zero for the exotic animals trade." He said some animal traders have even gone as far as to move from other states to Ohio to set up shop because they escape regulations that so many other states have in place.
What do you think should have happened? Did law enforcement act in the best interest of the public and the wild animals?
Video gallery: Ohio exotic animal farm videos
Related report: Ohio: Man found dead as exotic carnivores roam free then killed