Lions, Tigers, and Bears – Oh My! Exotic Animals Run Free in Ohio

19 Oct

It appears that Ohio has a circus on its hands.

Or so the Associated Press reported yesterday.  Not in those specific words, but after reading an article on how scores of exotic animals escaped an Ohio farm, I could easily draw the conclusion.  

Yesterday the fences were “left unsecured” at the Muskingum County Animal Farm, which housed wolves, bears, tigers, giraffes, and various other animals that are now roaming the roadways and suburban developments of east-central Ohio.   Authorities reported to the scene after calls during rush hour that wild animals were spotted along the road.  

How I’ve longed to be on my way home from work one day and see a giraffe trotting along, minding its own business.  I feel like that would really help alleviate my end-of-day stress. 



It appears that things happened quite out of order in this scenario.  Now, I’m not an authority of any kind, but it seems to me that when one gets a call about exotic animals on the loose, one calls animal handlers, heads to the scene, and waits for their arrival. Instead, it appears that deputies simply began shooting animals with assault rifles.  I’m sorry, you probably think I meant tranquilizers.  I didn’t.  I meant assault rifles.


The deputies, who saw many animals standing outside their cages and others that had escaped past the fencing surrounding the property, began shooting them. They said there had been no reports of injuries among the public.

Staffers from the Columbus Zoo went to the scene, hoping to tranquilize and capture the animals. The sheriff said caretakers might put food in the animals’ open cages to try to lure them back. (Associated Press via

If you put an assault rifle in that left hand instead, I imagine the scene looked much the same as this.

25, by the way.  In case you were wondering how many animals were shot.  Animals in cage = pay admission.  Animals out of cage = SHOOT! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SHOOT!

There’s a silver lining to all of this.  Local school districts canceled classes for today.  That’s kind of cool.  I always loved a good snow day, but nothing beats staying inside for fear that an ostrich will peck you to death or a tiger will pounce the school bus.  That’s rad.

My favorite quotation in the article is from Sheriff Matt Lut, who says “Any kind of cat species or bear species is what we are concerned about.  We don’t know how much of a head start these animals have on us”.  He talked about them like they’re escaped murder convicts.  I can just see the staff meeting now, with maps and pushpins up all CSI-like as they try to get inside the tigers’ heads and figure out where their next stops would be. 

The article mentions that Ohio happens to have the nation’s weakest restrictions on exotic pets.  It requires permits for bears, but so long as you snatch yourself a lion, tiger, or other nonnative animal, you don’t need to worry about regulation for now.   So strap up and head over to Ohio before the deputies down them all with assault rifles.  And if you happen to be an Ohio native, enjoy your day off school, and take a family field trip to the Interstate.  See if dad can finally round up that camel you’ve asked for every Christmas. 

You can read more about the incident here, at  Just promise you won’t believe the little tagline under their logo that reads “fair and balanced”.

16 Responses to “Lions, Tigers, and Bears – Oh My! Exotic Animals Run Free in Ohio”

  1. Jules October 19, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    “fair and balanced” bahahaha

    Bless their heart.
    (that’s my sarcastic face by the way)

    Apparently, the farm owner who kept the animals them and killed himself/herself. Wow


    • Jackie October 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

      Oh didn’t realize. Didn’t see that in any of the articles last night. Craziness.


  2. jakennicksmomma October 19, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    Who wants bear for dinner?


    • Jackie October 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

      What is this, Oregon Trail?


  3. Jessica October 19, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Wow. I had heard a little blip about this on the radio but not that the animals had been shot down. That bothers me. I wish they would have captured them and taken them to another zoo somewhere. I understand the need for safety but I’m really shocked it wasn’t handled differently. I also didn’t know the owner committed suicide. What a crazy story. Thanks for blogging about it or I would never had read the full article.


    • Jackie October 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

      Me too. They’re apparently getting a lot of flack for this but insisting that it was necessary for everyone’s safety since it was dark, etc. etc.

      Lots of Bengal Tigers were shot though and there are only about 1400 left in the world.


      • Jessica October 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

        Ugh, that just make my heart heavy.


  4. xbridgeyx October 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    WOW! that is crazy!! I just finished watching the news video of this on the link you posted and reading the new article…that is insane..I am like speechless..
    I feel bad for the animals, they are the innocent ones in this, and of course the citzens..what was this guy doing with these animals..and apparently he commited suicide after letting the animals out? like what is going on in his head…
    I hope no one gets injured and i feel bad for those animals.


    • Jackie October 19, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

      You can’t make this stuff up. Crazy beans.


  5. thesinglecell October 19, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    It’s like a nature film by Quentin Tarantino. One of the monkeys (the one allegedly still loose tonight – Wednesday) apparently has herpes. There are reports that one of the tigers may have eaten the monkey. Which means: Be on the lookout for a tiger with a cold sore.


  6. whatimeant2say October 19, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    Was there a hippo? I always wanted a hippopotamus for Christmas. Perhaps you’ve heard my song? I still sound like that BTW.


  7. Miss Y October 19, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

    What a complete waste of life.


  8. pegoleg October 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    This is heartbreaking, but I don’t blame the local police for killing the animals. What small town sheriff’s department is equipped with tranquilizer guns? You can’t wait around for someone from the big city zoo to show up with the right equipment when this nutjob opened the cages and let bears and lions, etc lose into the community.

    I mean, that’s LIONS and TIGERS that could be running down the street toward YOUR KID who’s walking to school.


    • Jackie October 28, 2011 at 1:15 am #

      Yes, yes, yes, I understand. I do get this aspect of it. But at the same time, I hate that we take them out of their natural habitat, cage them, get irresponsible about the whole thing, and then shoot them for being a threat. Why can’t we just leave them alone? 😦


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