Zanesville animals can’t catch a break

Five exotic animals, including two spotted leopards, two Macaque monkeys and a brown bear, once kept in backyard cages by the Zanesville, Ohio man who let 50 animals loose on his farm before committing suicide, will now be returned to his widow, to those very same cages, in the very same backyard.

Since the “Zanesville Massacre” occurred last fall, where 48 lions, wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, monkeys, mountain lions and tigers were killed by local law enforcement who feared for the public’s safety, the “lucky” remaining five exotic animals were temporarily quarantined at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. But on Monday, the quarantine was lifted by the state and the now “unlucky” animals were free to go back to the widow, Marian Thompson. 

Returning these exotic animals back to the infamous Zanesville farm highlights the serious problem with the current state and federal patch work of regulations and the dire need for strong federal oversight. The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, H.R. 4122, introduced in March by Rep. Buck McKeon and Rep. Loretta Sanchez would tighten rules regarding private ownership of big cats, protect big cats from cruelty and abuse and also safeguard communities from dangerous big cats.

The exotic animals belong in the wild, and it takes experienced hands to take care of them, and even then there can be problems. For instance, one of the Zanesville leopards being housed at the Columbus Zoo was accidentally killed when being transported to a new cage “due to lack of employees and not enough training.”  And this happened at an accredited zoo filled with professional animal care-givers.  What can be expected when they are returned to Marian Thompson?   

Before any more animals suffer or are killed and before the public is put directly in harm’s way again, take action and support H.R. 4122. 


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