Wednesday, October 19, 2011

US News

Tigers, lions let loose in Ohio
Oct 20, 2011, 05.24AM IST
COLOMBUS: Authorities closed schools and urged residents to stay in their homes on Wednesday as they tried to round up dangerous animals that escaped an Ohio farm after their owner opened their cages and then committed suicide, officials said.

Lions, tigers, cheetahs and grizzly bears were among the 48 animals that ran loose on Tuesday near Zanesville in eastern Ohio. Many of them were shot by authorities after a shoot-to-kill order was issued but that order was lifted when daybreak came on Wednesday and hunters switched to tranquilizer guns.

"There are 30-35 animals accounted for and may be more on the property," Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz told ABC News.

Earlier Lutz said his deputies had shot dead about 25 animals. One of them was a bear that attacked a law enforcement officer. Another eight animals, most of them described as "big cats" , were still loose on Wednesday, authorities said, although one official put the figure higher.

"We're still concerned about animals that are out," Kim Hambel, director of operations for the Muskingham County sheriff 's department, told CNN. "We sent a deputy, a wildlife officer and a vet into the property to do a search and recovery. We think we still have 14 to 15 animals unaccounted for."

The farm's owner, Terry Thompson, was found dead on the ground when authorities went to the farm to check on him on Tuesday following reports of animals running free. "I got a call from our safety director ... and he told me that Terry Thompson, the owner of the farm and owner of the animals, had set them free and then shot himself ," Mayor Howard Zwelling told CNN.

Lutz, who had issued a shoot-to-kill order overnight, said daylight would allow his force to tranquilize animals for capture instead.

"If there is any attempt we can do to tranquilize, we will do that," he said.
Lutz described the animals found as "mature, very big and aggressive" . The farm was home to grizzly bears, black bears, lions, tigers and cheetahs.

No comments:

Post a Comment