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The Zanesville Incident

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I was reading an article in today’s newspaper about the incident that happened in Zanesville Ohio yesterday.  A total of 49 animals were shot and killed after the owner of an exotic animal farm released the animals from their cages, then he committed suicide.

Among the animals killed were a baboon, six black bears, eight lionesses and 18 Bengal tigers. Local law enforcement officers felt there were few, if any, options other than killing the animals to prevent them from harming local residents.

All of the animal deaths were sad, but one of the saddest was the deaths of the Bengal tigers, considering the fact the species is close to extinction.  There are currently only 1,400 left worldwide.

What I found very troubling was the fact there had already been several (at least three) complaints about this facility’s animals on the loose.  These complaints resulted in the owner being fined $75 per complaint. The owner had also been charged with animal mistreatment, and most recently he’d served a year in federal prison for gun possession.

With this many complaints, how is it this man was allowed to keep the facility operating?  He also had a reputation for being “eccentric”, dangerously it seemed, so again, why was this man permitted to have such dangerous animals so close to local residents?

Too often there are stories about people that have been injured or killed by their exotic pets.  This latest episode strongly demonstrates the need for stiffer laws governing possession of exotic animals.

Yes, they are beautiful creatures, but they are wild creatures, not meant to be kept as pets or showpieces by those untrained to work with them.

What are your thoughts about the Zanesville incident?


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