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Ohio Woman Plans To Take Back Exotic Animals: Jack Hanna Vows To Fight For Animals Rights
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Ohio Woman Plans to Take Back Exotic Animals: Jack Hanna Vows to Fight For Animals Rights

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium CEO and President Dale Schmidt has been working to prevent the removal of several exotic animals that have been housed there since a tragedy that left forty nine other animals dead and the question of Ohio's exotic animal laws on everyone's minds. Director Emeritus, Jack Hanna has vowed that he will fight the decision of Marian Thompson, the widow of Terry Thompson from taking the animals back to the farm in Zanesville where they had been living in reportedly filthy conditions. Hanna said he would do everything in his power, even if it meant his arrest to keep the six animals from being returned.

Marian Thompson said that she would be coming to the zoo to get ack animals that include leopards, macaques and a young grizzly bear. The animals have been held in quarantine at the Columbus Zoo following the tragedy that unfolded at the Zanesville area farm where they had been housed for years. Terry Thompson, a man with a lengthy history with local and state authorities had recently been released from prison. According to the Sheriff, Thompson released all of his animals, a threat he had made several times in the past, and then shot himself. Deputies arrived on the scene after dozens of frantic 911 calls reporting wild animals in the area and tried to tranquilize and capture the animals before resorting to deadly force. In total, nearly fifty animals, including eighteen endangered Bengal tigers were killed.

Animal rights activists and groups have led the call for more stringent exotic animal laws in Ohio, described as one of the most lenient in the nation. Hanna and others have urged the Govenor to sign an executive order that would halt the private ownership of dangerous exotics in the state. Kasich did sign an executive order that gave a little more bite to previously written laws, but did nothing to prevent the release of these animals to Thompson at her request. The zoo has no legal right to hold the animals any longer, having removed them from the farm with Thompson's permission at the time.

There is some question about Marian Thompson's ability to care for the animals at this time, as well as whether or not she had been caring for them while her husband was incarcerated. The animals are currently in good health and thriving, according to zoo officials. \

Zanesville area residents are reportedly afraid of the animals return and worry that Thompson will start amassing more and more of the dangerous exotics that had been there before. Jack Hanna and others are continuing to investigate where the Thompsons have gotten their animals from in the past.


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