Zanesville, OH: Exotic Animals Suffered in Captivity

I know many readers followed the killing of dozens of wild animals who had been released from their cages on an Ohio farm just before the owner committed suicide on October 18.  In a recent meeting of a group tasked with making recommendations for exotic animal ownership in OH, Tom Stalf from the Columbus Zoo described the conditions the Zanesville animals lived in as “horrific”:

…[P]rimates were kept in birdcages littered with garbage and feces.

Bengal tigers were kept in cages about 6 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 15 feet deep, inadequate for their species, he said.

The grizzly bear now at the zoo was found in a large birdcage in a drained backyard pool, “aggressively chewing on the cage,” Stalf said.

The article also gives a final accounting of the 56 animals, although it appears to leave 1 animal unaccounted for:

Law enforcement shot and killed 48 of the animals and a monkey was killed by the other animals. Six others — a grizzly bear, three leopards and two monkeys — are in quarantine at the Columbus Zoo.

The task force is likely to recommend a ban on exotic animal ownership (with existing owners grandfathered in) according to the piece, although no details on which animals would qualify under the ban are mentioned.

12 thoughts on “Zanesville, OH: Exotic Animals Suffered in Captivity

  1. I cannot think of even one reason why these animals should be kept – other than in sanctuaries or SOME zoos. It is so sad that they lived such horrific lives before this happened.

  2. One of the things that has bothered me about this mess is that the giraffe and camel were destroyed by the sherrif’s department. I understand they could feel threatened by lions and tigers but a giraffe?

    aside from that, while not every one is able to care for large animals, (or wants to for that matter!) people should be able to own them if they want to and are willing to go the extra miles it takes to take care of them.

    1. It is my understanding that there were no camels or giraffes on the farm at the time of this incident

  3. The guy was in jail for a while – who was caring for the animals in his absence? Why did they allow the conditions to continue?

  4. the premises were inspected on a regular basis this is a wild out of hand story.. while the animals might not have been kept in “up to zoo standards” ( which in many places may be worse that at the scene) is typical of animal rights groups using one incident to create laws that affect many many people. “Exotic” can be used to mean many things.. many birds and reptiles are considered “exotic” along with some forms of sheep and even deer…. as they say
    be careful of what you wish for..

    1. Alica I am in complete agreement with you. There were multiple inspections over the past year and apparently conditions weren’t such that they felt the need to remove the animals. Obviously the guy that owned the animals was a nut case but just as with BSL, laws should not be created based upon kneejerk reactions.

  5. I stand by my belief that wild animals belong in the wild. I prefer to think of myself as an “animal welfare” advocate.

  6. I also consider myself an animal welfare advocate, and don’t think wild animals should be kept as pets – not because of the danger to us, but because of the danger to *them.*

    Eighteen Bengal tigers. Seventeen lions.

    That this farm passed inspections suggests to me that there’s something deeply flawed in either the inspections criteria or the process or both. I’m inclined to go for ‘both,’ given that the USDA apparently also inspects and passes puppy mills and cub-petting operations. Surely we can do better for the wild animals we keep in captivity than this. Surely.

    That other places that keep wild animals are worse is not a valid excuse. If it’s true – and it is – shut them all down. No excuses.

    1. You said it very well! Just because there were “inspections” does not mean that the animals were well cared for.

  7. I totally agree that if the animals are able to be kept that they have to do so appropriately. What I don’t want to see is a kneejerk law put in place which would cause animals that are currrently being cared for appropriately to lose the homes and or their lives. If a new law makes it nearly impossible for people to care for the animals they currently have, where are these animals going to go? The zoos and sanctuaries are not going to have the room or resources for them all. Time and time again we see animals paying the price when laws are enacted without thought of the unintended consequences. Take spay neuter laws for example. Often these laws are passed without and forethought as to helping those who may not be able to afford the surgery, and in some areas without even considering if there are enough facilities and vets to be able to provide the surgeries. So what happens? Animals are removed from homes and killed. Same thing with BSL, dogs end up being hidden from the public and become undersocialized, they also end up being turned loose in the streets because their owners feel they have a better shot at living than being turned into the shelter

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