The wild animals on the loose in Ohio had a hand with freeing themselves. Terry Thompson, 62, owner of the 46-acre animal farm, deliberately released 56 animals from their cages last night before killing himself, police say. More developments:
- Only a monkey (with herpes) and a wolf remain at large somewhere around Zanesville, Ohio, reports the Columbus Dispatch.
- Authorities killed 48 of the animals, reports the AP. "Public safety was my No. 1 concern," says the local sheriff. "I gave the order that if the animals looked like they were going to get out, they were going down."
- Among the animals that escaped were 18 Bengal tigers, 17 lions, and eight bears.
- As for Thompson, the sheriff says his death was caused by a gunshot wound, and that animals "bothered" his body.
- Thompson apparently also sliced the cages' wire, which the Dispatch says would allow the animals to flee once again, should they be returned to their cages.
- "It's like Noah's ark, like, wrecking right here in Zanesville, Ohio," says former Columbus Zoo chief Jack Hanna. "Noah's ark filled with tigers and lions and all leopards and a few monkeys and whatever, and it crashes here and all of a sudden they're out there." (Hanna defended the decision to kill the animals and called for tougher restrictions on such animal farms.)
- Thompson had been released from prison only three weeks ago after serving a one-year term for firearms violations. Neighbors had long complained about him being lax with security.