In October of 2011, exotic pet owner Terry Thompson released all of his animals from their enclosures before taking his own life, leading to the tragic killing of over 48 animals by Zanesville, Ohio police. The 5 surviving animals — two leopards, a bear and two primates — have since been held in state-issued quarantine by the Columbus Zoo only to now, in an ugly twist in an already ugly story, be released to Terry's widow, Marian Thompson.
2008 footage of the Thompson's farm has been leaked to reveal that animals were previously kept in cramped and often filthy cages. Thus far, there have been no reports of any improvements to the facilities. Jack Hanna, animal expert and the Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, released this statement via Facebook:
It breaks my heart to think that these animals could be returned to the horrid conditions in which we found them. What I saw in Zanesville last October changed my life forever – to release these animals without the proper regulations in place is beyond belief. The Columbus Zoo and I have tirelessly advocated for stringent regulation in Ohio over the last several months. I'm disappointed that a law protecting animals and people hasn't been enacted yet...It is my hope that Ohio officials will use this situation as a catalyst for change and that the pending legislation will be passed immediately to better protect animals and people.