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Exotic animals going back to Ohio owner

April 30, 2012 at 8:23 PM

ZANESVILLE, Ohio, April 30 (UPI) -- Five exotic animals that remained after 48 other wild animals released by their owner were killed will be returned to the man's wife, Ohio officials said.

The exotic animals will be returned to the Zanesville animal farm owned by Marian Thompson sometime this week, The Columbus Dispatch reported Monday.

Thompson's husband Terry released dozens of wild animals from their cages in October, before killing himself. Authorities shot and killed 48 of the animals -- including lions, tigers and bears -- because of the danger to the public.

The five animals that survived -- a spotted leopard, a black leopard, two Celebes macaques and a brown bear -- along with a spotted leopard that was euthanized after being crushed by a closing gate at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium where they were being quarantined, were not among the animals Terry Thompson set free.

Marian Thompson has indicated she intends to keep the animals at the farm, Ohio Agriculture Department spokeswoman Erica Pitchford said in a news release.

The mass release incident triggered the passage of a bill by the Ohio Senate that would ban the ownership of numerous exotic animals starting in 2014. The House is expected to take up the measure soon.

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