Ohio Sheriff: Monkey Possibly Eaten By Cat

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Late Wednesday, the Muskingum County Sheriff said he believed none of the animals that escaped from the animal farm in Zanesville, Ohio, were still on the loose.

Earlier, it was thought a monkey carrying the herpes B virus was still at large, but now Sheriff Matt Lutz thinks the animal was eaten by one of the cats.

Owner Terry Thompson is believed to have opened the cages for the animals and then shot and killed himself. He left no note.

Schools were closed and there was no mail delivery, as authorities were on order to shoot and kill the exotic animals.

KDKA’s David Highfield reports:

Animal expert Jack Hanna says it’s a tragedy but there was no other choice.

Nearly 50 animals were killed, including bears, lions, wolves and 18 tigers.

A few of the animals, including a grizzly bear, three leopards and two monkeys were captured and taken to the Columbus Zoo.

“Having any exotic animal is a dangerous thing to do; it just has to be done responsibly,” said Adam Guiher, of the Living Treasures Animal Park. “You have to understand what it takes to house them, the extra safety precautions you have to take. We have contact policies as far as what employees are allowed to be in what areas.”

KDKA’s Brenda Waters reports:

Thompson’s fascination with exotic animals reportedly began in the late 70’s when he bought his wife a lion cub.

He was known to police who received complaint calls about the animal farm. He had also just spent a year in prison on federal firearms violations. He was released last month.

The sheriff won’t speculate as to why Thompson may have done this, but a neighbor thinks it was to get back at neighbors and the police.

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More from David Highfield
  • Mike

    Ohio cops proud now they kill all the zoo animals. I hope all animal groups get together, and protest the shooting of these animals! What the police did was wrong, should have use other methods of force. Again over reaction of the police CHIEF. Most of the animals stay in the property. Why not re-gate where some animals got looset. ( Simply senseless killings of these animals).

    • Debbie

      I totally agree!!!

    • Krystal

      This happens fairly often around the country, its called a tranq gun…. not a lethal one.

    • RY33

      What part of “Animal expert Jack Hanna says its tragedy but there was no other choice.” didn’t you get? That’s the director of the Columbus Zoo.If there was another option he might have suggested it.

      • Hal

        Jack Hanna is retired. He is no longer the director. He was reacting to details being given by the sheriff and other present. Hanna wasn’t in fact on the scene until after the incident was over.

        While an animal expert, his opinion is more informed than most, is not based on any personal observation of any of the events that took place.

        Don’t worry, by the time the lawyers and politicians are done, private ownership of exotic animals will be a thing of the past in this state because it will be regulated out of existence. One bad owner = ban. I’m not impressed and I don’t own any animals as pets, let alone exotic ones.

    • MsCynic

      It would impossible to calculate dosage for th Traq. You have to be VERY accurate according to weight – the could die a dramatic death that way or they could wake up too early and those trying to transport could be badly injured.

      Other risk is the tranq’s can take up to 15 minutes to react – longer if adrenilen is involved & I’m sure they were FREAKING out.! A bear can travel 30 MPH when chasing prey and if scared. 15 minues is a LONG time to wait for the animal just just shot to go down, plus you have to be able to hit them in the muscle for it to take effect.

      This man DID NOT love these animals!! If he did, he would have NEVER opened their cages because this is the only logical result. A man’s horse was being chased by a TIGER!! Multiple phone calls to police note Tigers/Bears/Lions wandering through people’s yards. I am saddened by the loss of these beautiful animals, but lets put the blame where it BELONGS, with the owner.

      • Grenade01

        Tranq’s are pretty easy to calculate. You can find the dosages on your phone in a matter of minutes and it’s easy to modify. Anyone with a tranq aught to know how to modify it for weight I would think.

    • Sean

      if your child or family member would of got killed you would be saying something much different ..I know its a shame that they had to die, but in the short amount of time to make a hard decision the police did the right thing in order to protect the public.

    • joe

      You are an idiot, and Obviously have the reading comprehension of a 5 year Old. the article states they captured some of the animals and brought them to the Zoo. I am sure they did not want to destroy the animals, but public safety comes first, if you want to be mad at someone how about the jerk that let them out of their cages?

    • Charray

      You people are always ready to PROTEST !!!! That is your answer to everything. It was night time, difficult to see and how many tranquilizer guns do you think the Police have on hand for such a massive problem. Hind sight is definitely 20/20 in your case.
      You are an idiot !!!!!

    • Dan

      you sir, are an idiot

    • DK

      your comments demonstrate why it is that so many animal rights people are ignorned. Although animal rights is a noble cause, unthinking activists who think animals are more important than people minimize the credibility of your cause.

    • Gary Picasso

      Typing in all caps is moronic, rude, and puerile.

    • Tex Lovera

      Obviuosly Krystal didn’t read waht Jack Hanna had to say. He explained that you couldn’t tranq the animals at night. Plus, how much tranq was on hand? And how long would it take to deploy? And how many people could/would have died while you’re running around trying to tranq these animals? In this case, the police acted correctly and properly. It was not their fault that these dangerous beasts were let loose…

    • The night scribe

      Jesus. You’re a moron.

    • Not Mike

      Maybe you should have gone out lured them back into their pens since you are really ‘Mike the Wild Animal Wonderboy’. Let me get my camera first so I can capture all of you animal wrangling skills in action.

    • jeez


    • Lilly

      It is nice to see the (mostly) intelligent responses to Mike’s unintelligent response. This was a tragedy all around. The police acted justly. The animals that could be captured were, those that were not were shot. The public safety was maintained. It would have been impossible to tranquilize this number and variety of animals. The blood of these dead animals rests solely on the OWNER. The OWNER is the only one anybody should be angry with, and he is dead.

    • thinkmore

      UM. You know the guy broke their enclosures so they could not be returned, right? And SPECIFICALLY what force would YOU have used to control the lions, tigers and bears? And where would you take them? And while you were doing all this careful planning and trapping, how do you keep the lions tigers and bears from eating children? Let’s hear all the details of this great plan right now because you were out of time two days ago. We’re waiting. Kids are getting eaten. Hello?????

  • M.J.

    You are just ignorant!

  • Sherri Lynn



    • Dan Kitinoja

      Althougth I appare to share your theological convictions I would point out that Genesis chapters 1-3 shows God giving humans a responsibility for taking care of creation-including animals. While animals do not have the intellectual capactiy of humans they do have nerve endings, family structures, social interactions, similar to but different from humans. Since they feel pain in a manner similar to us-it would seem that we as Christians should take seriously the pain and suffering of animals, even though they don’t have a spirit that goes on into eternity. Unless I am being a pea brain????

      • cringe

        God gave us DOMINION over the animals. DOMINION is different. Look it up. (Liberals really should not try to quote the Bible)

    • Tex Lovera

      I vote for pea brain…

  • sls

    The state is to balme for this. Countless times this crack job owner has been in trouble with the law even served time in jail. Why was he allowed to keep these animals after being called upon time and time again. The state has very lax laws about owning these tyoes of animals, I hope that hanges, sad that this ended in over 4 DOZEn (most endangerd) animals killed, but glad there was no lose of human life excpet the wacko that did this in the first place…..hope he is in hell.

    • MsCynic

      I also blame the state some – there had been MULTIPLE complaints against this man for loose animals in the past and he was convicted of animal cruelty for not bringing cattle and a bison in during the winter, and then he could not/did not travel up there to feed them. They starved to death.

      Again, the blame lies DIRECTLY on the head of this owner!

    • Dan

      I imagine that no one in state government would have expected that someone would have let their prized exotic animal collection go free. Would you have? I blame the man who did this. Not his parents, not society, not the state, the man. He is guilty, and although I do not hope he is in hell, his actions prior to leaving this life seem to indicate that is the case.

  • MsCynic

    SERIOUSLY?? You are equating the irresponsible act of shooting at protesters, to shooting down LARGE predators with very real potential of KILLING whatever crossed their paths!

  • Steve

    Ridiculous unnecessary death to these animals. These cops should be thrown into a lions den and left to their own demise. It’s only fair!

    • dose of truth

      Excuse me, you’re. Just typing too fast caring about real problems in the world bigger than this.

    • sean

      your a ass if your child or family member would of got killed you would be saying something much different ..I know its a shame that they had to die, but in the short amount of time to make a hard decision the police did the right thing in order to protect the public.

  • j

    One of the police had a prior experience with a lion. After it was shot with a tranquilzer and hit square, it leaped 18 feet and killed another policeman. Also, the Ohio police tried using a tranquilizer and the lion ran after being hit.

  • Dave

    To anyone of you who think the authorities are to blame, you need to stop smoking whatever it is you are smoking. The person to blame in this situation is the man who owned the animals. Instead of finding a home for these animals before he decided to take his life, he KNEW what the end results for these animals would be when he left their cages open. The police were responding to a situation that warranted immediate action. It was night time, and if you know ANYTHING about tranquilizing animals, you do NOT administer a tranquilizer at night because they don’t know how the animal would react. Another point to remember is the police are not equipped with tranquilizers. Even the head of the Columbus Zoo, Jack Hanna, said this was the only alternative. In case you didn’t realize it, the police are here to serve to protect the people, and that’s what they did. Adiitionally, the woman who lives next door to this moron called the police stating that the animals were going after her horse, so you see, this was an immediate situation, not something they could wait and brainstorm over what the best solution would be. The people’s safety is first and foremost!

    • Jen D.

      Best comment so far.. Hopefully this will make the ones who are not looking at the whole situation wake up and realize this was about the only thing they could of done. It’s sad for the animals but we should be blaming the owner for only thinking about himself. MsCynic Your also coming back with great comments keep it up!!

    • Lindsey

      Glad to see someone else using their brain.

      Human life trumps animal life in this case, as sad as it is.

  • Carol

    So to all of you that think it’s ok to blame the owner instead of the police for shooting all the animals but 5 or 6–YOU ARE WRONG! The State was wrong for not intervening sooner for animal cruelty, the owner was wrong for neglecting these animals, and last but not least–the police were ABSOLUTELY WRONG in the end for killing all these animals instead of tranqulizing them or using a stun gun on them and acting like they’re on a frigging safari–I’m so embarrassed to live in Ohio anymore, it’s pathetic.

    • Dave

      Miss Carol – In case you didn’t know it, they attempted to tranquilize one of the Bengal tigers. Once administered, the tiger went into a rage and attacked the vet who shot it. At this point, the authorities had NO recourse but to shoot the animal or the veterinarian would have been killed. You think that is ok? You are right that the state should not permit farms of this kind. But, the fact that it did does NOT dispute the fact that this guy intentionally left these cages open knowing these animals would be killed. He is a very selfish, self-centered person. If he wanted to take his life, he could have done so without bringing the animals into the situation. Since he decided to “get back” at the police and community, he is SOLELY responsible for the deaths of those animals. As stated before, the police are here to protect and serve, and that is what they did.

      • dose of truth

        Dave, totally with you. These idiots think that a tranquilzer dart acts instantly when contacting an animal,s flesh. Because they saw it happen in a movie, they feel that it must be true in real life. TV would never lie. I actually have worked with the game commision. When I worked for the Turn Pike, we had to tranq several deer and once a black bear that was hit on the road. Even with two broken legs, the deer instantly took off and tried to run once the dart hit them. The bear took 15 minutes to fully be subdued by the dart’s, plural. So it’s just a matter of ignorant people who have no real experience at all trying to blame anyone they can. Waaaaah!!! Simba got shot, now I’ll never watch Lion King again…

      • Queen Bee

        Dose of Truth –

        Apparently we have no deer hunters on here !!! I love the whole “tranq the animals” concept. I have tracked morning, noon and night for deer that I’ve shot in the heart or lungs and they’ve traveled miles away. They’ve jumped fences, traveled through ponds, pushed through brush that only a mouse could get through for MILES just to keep from dieing. All animals have a will to live !!! If a bullet can’t stop an animal then a tranq gun damn sure isn’t !!!

      • swampfox

        Capture nets,,,it is illegal to kill endangered animals

    • DJH

      What you should be embarrassed about is the display of ignorance you just showed. Since you’re the expert – and Jack Hanna who apparently isn’t said it was the only way – what was your solution. Let’s here about the tranquilizer and stun gun plan you came up with. How long would it take to get enough of those resources on site? The doses? You’re going to get right up on these animals to administer the ‘stun’?

      Grow up and stop thinking with your heart!

      The state may have been neglectful – and I’d say that’s a bit of an understatement, but only 1 person is responsible and he took the cowardly way out after endangering his neighbors and the community at large with his little hissy fit.

    • Charray

      Carol, YOU are the ONE that is PATHETIC !!!!!!

    • Keefer Beefer

      I vote that next time something like this happens we look you up and give you a tranquilizer gun and let you round them up.

      I know, you would never do it but you sure do spout off with a big know it all mouth.

    • Keefer Beefer

      I vote that next time something like this happens we look you up and give you a tranquilizer gun and let you round them up.

      I know, you would never do it but you sure do spout off with a big know it all mouth.

      Oh, and it appears unanimous – we too are embarrassed to have you living in Ohio so PLEASE MOVE!!!!!

  • Aduzi

    “Sheriff Matt Lutz thinks the animal was eaten by one of the cats.” What makes him “think” so? Was there remnants of the monkey as should typically be the case?

    • Chad

      Do you think maybe the monkey could have be eaten prior to be shot? Wow that was tough.

  • Jefferson Davis

    These egroes and gays need a good old fashioned Confederate horsewhipping.

  • George

    How could the monkey have been eaten by one of the large cats when the monkey was the last wild animal on the loose? Or did they find monkey bits in one of the captured cats poop?? This logistically doesn’t make sense and needs further explanation.

  • Charray

    Hippie, you are another Idiot !!!!!!

    • IgetIt

      I think that he was being facetious. Thus the name “Hippie.” It’s called a sense of humor folks, and I think it’s on sale at Target if you need one.

  • Charray

    Sherri Lynn, YOU are the ONE that NEEDS HELP !!!

  • Dg

    Police searched all night for the monkey with herpes by shouting, “Snooki! Snooki! Come here girl!”

    • emmie

      lolololol! thank you for the laugh.

      • Queen Bee

        Note to self, Diet Coke hurts like he!! coming through the nose. Thanks for the laugh!!

  • http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/10/20/sheriff-owner-had-bite-to-head-possibly-from-bengal-tiger/ Muskingum County Officials Release New Details Following Death Of Animal Farm Owner, Escape « CBS Pittsburgh

    […] LINKS: Ohio Sheriff: Monkey Possibly Eaten By Cat Photos from Zanesville Other Related Stories Share this No comments […]

  • armedinTN

    Missed my chance for a safari hunt. Should have packed up the guns and drove up there as soon as I heard if this.

  • Seairail

    Hasn’t the asylum taken roll call yet and discovered that Sherri Lynn is among the missing?

  • emmie

    This is not the Madagascar movie, friends. These poor animals were probaby freaking out. Where was compassionate OHIO PETA .. they could have lined the streets and thrown carrot sticks and vegan hot dogs for the carnivores to catch and eat. Why weren’t they at this man’s house YEARS ago demanding their release to a professional wildlife refuge. ??????

  • The_Duke

    I sincerely hope Mr. Thompson winds up in Hell. What he did to those poor animals was disgusting. The police had no choice.

  • BF

    I hope they are planning on doing something with all that exotic meat. I know it’s unfortunate that the animals had to be put down, but it would be a real waste not to use the meat. 50/50 with a local gourmet restaurant could fill in an budget holes.

  • Gary Picasso

    Someone needs to bring that sheriff up on charges. What a fool.

  • Lance

    You’re a blithering idiot.
    If those animals were to attack and kill a child, or anyone for that matter, the residents would have been screaming for the sheriffs head.

    What is senseless is the sheer depth of your stupidity – you weep for these animals, and it is a shame – people should not be allowed to own these type animals in the first place – but where is your common sense??

    I would love to see you people who criticize the cops for doing their jobs face to face with a charging tiger….and have a cop say, well, maybe if you’ll speak nicely to it, you’ll be ok.

    Bunch of morons.

  • Hotel

    was the monkey from Homewood?

  • Hank Warren

    Useless cops killing animals and citizens at will, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our rights:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama, vote for Ron Paul.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

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