Animal-rights activists fuming over killing of exotic animals in Ohio

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PHOENIX -- Many animal-rights activists are condemning the killing of nearly 50 exotic animals that were released by their owner in Zanesville, Ohio Wednesday.

Police say Terry Thompson left the animals' cages open and the fences unsecured before he killed himself.

A total of 56 animals, including lions, tigers, bears and wolves, were set free from the Muskingum County Animal Farm. Authorities shot and killed 48 of those animals. The surviving six were taken to the Columbus Zoo while a monkey and a wolf remained on the loose.

Zanesville is a mostly rural area about 55 miles east of Columbus.

Many people are now wondering why the animals had to be killed, suggesting they should have been tranquilized instead. Zanesville authorities said they were afraid that animals hit with tranquilizer darts would run away and hide, becoming dangerously unpredictable and nearly impossible to find in the dark.

Dr. Grey Stafford of Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium discussed the incident and its aftermath with Kaley O'Kelley. He also talked about what Arizona's zoos do to protect both the public and the animals should an animal get loose.

Wildlife Word Zoo is located at 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park. For more information call 623-935-WILD (9453) or visit