Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Animal Planet

If people were superior to animals, they'd take better care of the world.
-A.A. Milne

A man who kept over 50 exotic animals in a private zoo near the town of Zanesville, Muskingum County, Ohio, about 60 miles east of the city of Columbus, released them yesterday and then committed suicide. Deputies from the Muskingum County Sheriff's Office started tracking the freed Black bears, Grizzly bears, lions, tigers, cheetahs, and wolves in the rain as dusk approached. Since they did not have tranquilizer guns and the Sheriff feared the animals would reach more populated areas if not caught before dark, the deputies were told to kill every wild animal they found. Harsh? Maybe, unless you are the unlucky man, woman, or child who stumbled into the path of one of these creatures.

The problem here isn't the deputies killing wild animals roaming  the countryside. The problem is letting a man keep wild animals anywhere near a populated area. The state of Ohio and the federal government have no laws that regulate the kind of operation Terry Thompson had on his farm. Ohio law only regulates native species (Black bears for one.) while the Department of Agriculture rules only cover exhibitors and breeders, and Terry Thompson was neither a exhibitor nor a breeder.

The slaughter of up to 50 animals may not pass unacknowledged in Ohio. State lawmakers are finally serious about implementing laws that close the non-native animals loophole.  I don't think any private individual should own any exotic animal but let's hope one of the requirements of the Ohio state legislature is that all animal owners be mentally stable.


Ally Bean said...

Amen.  Weirdest thing yet to come from this state.  And that's saying a lot considering we're the people who brought you the "Weeper" of the House, John Boehner.

la peregrina said...

I did not know John Boehner was from there.  I always thought he grew out of the head of Richard Nixon.