Exotic Animals Escape Ohio Farm, Owner Found Dead
Police have shot 25 of the creatures
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2011 12:55 AM CDT
Updated Oct 19, 2011 6:51 AM CDT
"We don't know how much of a head start these animals have on us," Sheriff Matt Lutz says.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Schools in Zanesville, Ohio, won't have class today because of lions, tigers, and bears. Dozens of exotic animals, including big cats, bears, wolves, camels, and giraffes, have escaped from a local animal sanctuary, and 25 have already been shot dead by local police officers, CBS reports. After some of the animals were seen along a nearby highway, police arrived at the farm to find the owner dead, and the animals' cages open. "These are wild animals that you would see on TV in Africa," said the local sheriff.

The sheriff, who hasn't disclosed how the sanctuary's owner died, says his men had to shoot some aggressive animals on the scene. Police are patrolling the area in cars, wary of big cats that might be hiding in the trees. "Any kind of cat species or bear species is what we are concerned about," explained the sheriff. "We don't know how much of a head start these animals have on us." Area residents have been urged to stay inside and schools have been told not to open.