Humane Society: Zanesville Tragedy Was Preventable

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The Humane Society is criticizing Gov. John Kasich for letting expire an order that would have barred individual Ohioans from owning exotic animals.(Photo: Humane Society)
The Humane Society is criticizing Gov. John Kasich for letting expire an order that would have barred individual Ohioans from owning exotic animals.(Photo: Humane Society)

The Humane Society is blaming Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the escape of 56 exotic animals from a farm near Zanesville Tuesday. The group says Kasich let an emergency order of former Governor Ted Strickland expire. The Humane Society says that order could have prevented the tragedy.

Terry Thompson’s farm housed lions, grizzly bears, tigers, wolves and even monkeys. Authorities say that Thompson opened their cages before shooting himself.

Thompson was convicted of animal cruelty in 2005.  And under an order former Gov. Ted Strickland adopted just before he left office in January, the farm would have been shut down.  Strickland’s successor, John Kasich, let the order lapse in April.
Kasich says it wouldn’t have made any difference had the order been in place.

“You don’t want to just put something out and not have the infrastructure and deal with all the complications that are connected to this,” the Governor said.

After the animals escaped Tuesday night, authorities shut down schools, warned residents and killed 48 of the animals. Another six were captured and turned over to the Columbus Zoo.

Kasich says he formed a task force shortly after taking office that included the Humane Society. He says it’s been looking for an alternative to Strickland’s order.

“How do you license? How do you check? What is the infrastructure? What is the role of the zoos? Are there some things that we should absolutely not permit? I mean, I look at some of these dangerous animals, I say I don’t even know why they’re in this state. So, we’re going to allow this working group to move. You know obviously they are going to move faster now,” Kasich said.

But the Humane Society of the United States says allowing Strickland’s order to expire caused the problem.  It’s calling on Kasich to reinstate Strickland’s order temporarily until the state can adopt a permanent solution.

“This has to be fixed. I mean this is unbelievable that this even existed,” Kasich said. “And what’s hard for me to understand is why Ohio over time didn’t deal with this. But we’ll deal with it now, and that’s what most important going forward.”

Kasich says there is a meeting scheduled for Monday with the Department of Natural Resources and the Humane Society.

Comments
  • Anonymous

    ? “escape” ? The animals were released.

    I disagree. The blame rests with the late Terry Thompson, who released the animals.

    “The Humane Society is blaming Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the escape (sic).”