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Five Surviving Exotic Animals To Be Given To Ohio Man's Widow

A sign warning motorists that exotic animals were on the loose near Zanesville, Ohio, last October.
Tony Dejak
A sign warning motorists that exotic animals were on the loose near Zanesville, Ohio, last October.

Ohio officials have decided they will hand over five animals to the widow of a man who last October paralyzed a community by releasing 56 lions, tigers, bears and other exotic animals from his farm.

According to the Zanesville Times Recorder, "the Ohio Department of Agriculture has decided to lift the quarantine on the five animals belonging to Marian Thompson. ... [The] grizzly bear, two leopards and two monkeys ... have been housed under quarantine at the Columbus Zoo."

It isn't yet known when the animals will be handed over or where Marian Thompson will take them, the newspaper adds.

Last Oct. 18, as we reported at the time, Marian Thompson's husband Terry released the animals and then shot himself. Sheriff's deputies were forced to hunt the dangerous creatures. Only six survived. They were captured and taken to the Columbus Zoo and Acquarium. The Associated Press says that one of them, a leopard, was later euthanized.

The AP adds that "Marian Thompson's attorney, Robert McClelland, said his client has adequate cages for the surviving animals, according to a letter obtained last week by The Associated Press through a public records request."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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