49 of the animals that had been released after their owner Terry Thompson of Ohio opened their cage and committed suicide on the spot, some miles west of downtown Zanesville, have reportedly been killed by police, Ohio wildlife expert Jack Hanna told reporters. The animals included tigers, bears and lions.
According to Hanna, there was no choice but to kill the creatures. Otherwise, there would have been bloodshed on the streets, he stated. Besides, by late Wednesday it was reported that out of all the animals that were released, only a monkey is still at large.
“I’m sorry to say, but what the sheriff did had to be done,” Hanna said. “Otherwise, we would have had carnage out here in Zanesville, Ohio." She also said that Terry Thompson’s wife also came home on the spot and she was annoyed and trembling.
Thompson and his wife had collected the wild animals mainly out of their shared affection for the creatures. However, they were not a perfect or apparently even a compatible couple and trouble with the law was part of their lives. Thompson was jailed for keeping illegal firearms and recently set free, and reports suggest that he and his wife were separated.
The animals were reportedly killed by the deputies of Muskingum County Sheriff's Office, besides other law enforcement authorities — at the start with pistols, and afterwards with assault rifles — as the creatures strolled the land or emerged out of woods.
According to Jack Hanna, handling wild animals is not an easy task. He said he had travelled across the world tranquilizing wild animals and has found that it is one of the most difficult and perilous tasks. Hanna is now tasked with shifting the remaining animals to the Columbus Zoo in Powell, Ohio.
He went on to share his experience with ABC News.
“I’ve been out all over the world tranquilizing animals,” Hanna said. “Can you imagine trying to tranquilize an animal in the dark. Fine, we have a spotlight. We hit it. You don’t know exactly: Did you hit a muscle? Did you hit a bone? If you hit the bone, the plunger might not work and put the medicine in. So what do we do? Then we send a veterinarian or the sheriff up there to see if the animal is down, right? What’s gonna happen if the animal is just sitting there not even asleep? You’re dead.”
Hanna said that it was the most tragic event of his life and that it will keep haunting him for the rest of his life. He said the killing of animals was to be carried out or else we would have had major threat to human lives.