Thursday, October 20, 2011

In-Sync Exotics Editorial: The Zanesville, Ohio Tragedy

Yesterday we woke up to the horrific news that 56 exotic animals were released from their cages Tuesday evening from Terry Thompson’s farm outside Zanesville, OH, and the owner later committed suicide in his home.

As of Wednesday afternoon, authorities reported killing 49 animals -- 18 tigers, 17 lions, 6 black bears, 2 grizzly bears, 3 mountain lions, 2 wolves and a baboon.

Six animals (1 grizzly bear, 3 leopards and 2 monkeys) were safely captured and taken to the Columbus Zoo. That left one non-human primate still on the loose.

Animal-related Facebook pages were quick to blame authorities for killing so many animals instead of using tranquilizer darts. Animal Rights groups were quick to denounce private “exotic” pet ownership.

Often times, snap emotional judgments are made without hearing the facts of the case. For instance, as horrible as it was for the law enforcement officers to shoot these magnificent animals in the dark, they essentially had no choice—human safety must come first.

Can you just image the 911 emergency calls made to the local police department that Tuesday evening? One such call came from the mother whose son lives near the Thompson’s farm reporting that her son saw lions and bears running free and that a tiger was chasing her son’s horse! Thankfully the horse was saved and placed in the owner’s barn.

Law enforcement officers were forced to search for escaped animals in the dark—a very dangerous venture because some of these big cats and bears weighed in excess of 300lbs and were extremely aggressive! The officers could not wait until daylight because allowing the animals to escape into other communities could have resulted in the loss of human life.

In-Sync Exotics believes that shooting an escaped dangerous animal should be the last resort for containing this type of emergency situation. Sadly, tranquilizing drugs take about 15 minutes or so to take affect; that's a long time for an animal to run and hide until the drugs wear off, so it can eventually resume its escape for freedom. Also, folks need to remember that an exotic animal living in captivity does not have the natural fear of humans and will often approach people looking for food and shelter. This makes an escaped exotic animal doubly dangerous to a local community.

In-sync Exotics also believes that anyone who has a record of abusing animals should not be allowed to maintain them as pets. Ohio law enforcement officers admitted they have had numerous problems with Mr. Thompson in the past, including animal cruelty violations, and yet no agency stepped in to save the 56 exotic animals. In-Sync Exotics advocates strengthening animal abuse laws, thereby preventing animal abusers from owning exotics as pets. Sadly, this horrible situation could have been prevented if there were laws on the books that protected the animals from their abuser.

So now we mourn the loss of 49 beautiful animals that died needlessly. It is our goal to continually speak out for those animals that cannot do so. We hope that we can garner your support in our effort to bring to light those instances where animals are being abused, so we can stop tragic situations, such as the loss of the 49 Ohio exotic animals, from ever happening in the first place.

In-Sync Exotics' response to questions about how safe is our sanctuary:  WFAA  CBSDFW  NBCDFW


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