Widow wants Ohio to return exotic animals

Feb. 7, 2012 at 3:46 PM
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COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The widow of an Ohio man who killed himself after releasing his menagerie of exotic animals wants the surviving ones back, her lawyer says.

Marian Thompson plans to sue the Ohio Department of Agriculture if it does not respond to her letter protesting an order that the five survivors remain in quarantine at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Zanesville Times Recorder reported.

Sheriff's deputies shot 48 animals, including lions, bears and wolves, after Terry Thompson took his own life on his Zanesville farm. Six animals were taken to the zoo but one, a spotted leopard named Anton, was euthanized last week after it was injured.

"With the tragic death of Anton, it is apparent the well-being of the animals is not the top priority at their current location," lawyer Robert McClelland said in his letter.

The animals were originally scheduled to be tested for disease in early October but that has been put off several times, a delay McClelland called "inexcusable." He also said the department has not responded to Thompson's request for a hearing on the return of the animals.

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