Animal Rights

Kill, Kill, Kill

We're a greedy, destructive and deadly species, and this story is a good example of why and how.

ZANESVILLE, Ohio — Sheriff's deputies shot nearly 50 wild animals – including 18 rare Bengal tigers and 17 lions – in a big-game hunt across the state's countryside Wednesday after the owner of an exotic-animal park threw their cages open and committed suicide in what may have been one last act of spite against his neighbors and police.

First, none of these animals should have been kept in captivity in the first place. Second, why couldn't they have captured the animals using tranquilizer darts or whatever other nonlethal techniques commonly employed to subdue wild animals, and then transported them to any number of rescues/refuges or zoos elsewhere?

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but we have such a shitpile of bad karma headed our way. One of these days, nature is going to crash down on our overdeveloped skulls and not even blink as it steps over our bloated carcasses.

  • John Davoll

    At the end of the day, it’s still a crappy story. Knowing they were completely in the right, those officers still had the job of going home and telling their families what they had to do that day. Even sadder is that just a couple of miles away you can see all of these many of these kind of animals at the Columbus Zoo’s nature preserve, The Wilds. That’s where these animals should have spent their lives, not in some unbalanced person’s shitty farm (which is sounding more and more like a horror film).

  • DontCallMeGreg

    Love ya Bob, really, but this one misses. This was clearly a case of NO GOOD OPTIONS, and the decision to place public safety–in light of all the circumstances pointed out in other comments here–at #1. I live 15 minutes from Zanesville, and can tell you–there are plenty of us (skeptics, bleeding hearts, animal lovers) around here who are saddened and sickened by this whole unfortunate affair. But given the frightening and potentially tragic situation surrounding the decisions, your criticism is unfair, and way too easy for someone who wasn”t there.

  • Fembot45

    First off, love your blog and podcast! Your a word magician in the best possible way. This right here sums it all up: Not to be a Debbie Downer, but we have such a shitpile of bad karma headed our way. One of these days, nature is going to crash down on our overdeveloped skulls and not even blink as it steps over our bloated carcasses.~Amen!

  • Razor

    They did what they had to do. As has been explained, tranqs weren’t working fast enough, the animals were agitated and they were losing daylight. If that tiger had eaten a kid at the bus stop, this reactionary country would’ve lost its collective shit and we would’ve nuked a zoo.

    Blame lies with the sick individual who let these animals out and John Kasich, who let Strickland’s exotic animal ban expire… all to appease the gods of deregulation.

    • gescove

      But Governor Kasich was only defending the Constitutional right to keep 18 Bengal tigers in your backyard without interference. There was probably all sorts of red tape he eliminated, like requiring inspections, vaccinations, or a diet other than neighborhood cats and dogs. Governor Kasich clearly and bravely stands against the Nanny State. He knows if you aren’t smart enough to arm up and defend yourself against marauding tigers it’s your own damn fault if you get eaten. You’re probably not rich, or a contributor, and that’s your own damn fault too. Since he’s doing away with the Nanny State and the safety net that only coddles losers and parasites, you’re probably better off getting eaten.

  • Clancy

    I was just about to write a sarcastic, smart-ass comment about how the Zanesville PD should have anticipated some nutcase releasing 41 large wild cats and a half-dozen bears and been prepared with an adequate quantity of tranquilizers and cages when I realized that this guy was actually on their radar due to previous violations, including animal cruelty.

    While I agree that it’s unreasonable to expect local law enforcement to be able to deal with a scenario such as this crazy ass one, it seems like something should have been done a long time ago to 1) keep this guy from collecting such a dangerous menagerie in the first place, or, failing that 2) seizing and placing the animals someplace where they could be properly cared for.

    • IrishGrrrl

      That was my thought Clancy….I mean this guy had 35 violations in so many years….not to mention the ones that he DIDN’T get written up for. I think if I was the Chief in that town I would have stockpiled tranquilizers for my and my officers’ safety! However, public funds being near record lows, I’m sure that wasn’t much of an option.

      So the way it boils down to me the two most responsible for the problem are the idjit that collected all the animals and the former idjit Repub Governor.

      • bphoon

        Naw, that Repub Governor is a current idjit…

  • cousinavi

    If Marlin Perkins and Jim and gone out there, they would have bagged up the whole menagerie in a day.
    I long for the halcyon days of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

  • dildenusa

    One of these days, nature is going to crash down on our overdeveloped skulls and not even blink as it steps over our bloated carcasses.

    OK. Don’t hold your breath. Florida and New York City might disappear underwater after we get finished burning every last atom of carbon we can pull out of the ground but really, it could be a billion years or so before our sun starts to puff up into a red giant and really cooks the Earth and makes global climate change a picnic. Then nature will get it’s revenge. Hopefully by then we will have seen the clear white light of stupidity and changed our ways.

  • Draxiar

    I’ve been asking myself that same question.

  • Bob McIntosh

    Thanks, Paula, Jeff, and Bryan. I didn’t see you posted at the same time I did. Bob C., I don’t think any of us meant to beat up on you.

  • Bob McIntosh

    They did try to tranquilize and capture the animals; but, in at least one case, the animal charged the veterinarian before the drug took effect (the drugs take about 3-6 minutes before the animal is sedated). Nightfall and the lack of tranquilizer guns (who keeps dozens of THOSE things around? — nobody) were also aggravating factors.

  • Bryan Wither

    My understanding was that they weren’t prepared with strong enough tranquilizers for the big cats. I think I read on HuffPo that one Vet tried to take down one of the Bengal Tigers with a tranq, and it just pissed off the Tiger and prompted it to charge her.

    There was also the concern that it was already almost night when they started to search for the animals.

    Plus these animals had been chronically abused and neglected, and thus were already hostile toward humans.

    I agree that it was a sad situation from end to end. I’m hesitant though to say that the police overstepped in their actions to protect the people in the community. If anyone deserves scorn, it’s the state of Ohio for having such lax laws regarding exotic animals

  • Jeff Battin

    You are clueless my friend. If you were on top of the story, the Sheriff’s Dept. had to take the welfare of the general public at heart first before wasting countless hours or days to acquire the appropriate (Non-lethal) alternatives. What would you be writing if the tiger that was shot had eaten and killed you son?
    The point is the Sheriffs Dept and all law enforcement did a commendable job and if their are fingers to be pointed it is the liberal laws that allow morons like the owner whose criminal acts started these “barbaric” killings.
    Change the laws in Ohio and it wont happen again.

    • agrazingmoose

      According to NPR, it was the new Republican governor that rejected the laws against private ownership of these types of animals that were put in place by his predecessor, a Democrat.

    • dildenusa

      The point is the Sheriffs Dept and all law enforcement did a commendable job and if their are fingers to be pointed it is the liberal laws that allow morons like the owner whose criminal acts started these “barbaric” killings.

      Oh really? If I read things right the owner of the farm wasn’t breaking any laws. Federal, state, or local. So he wasn’t a criminal. Let’s look at this realistically. Local governments don’t like being sued if someone gets killed by a wild animal that’s on the loose in an urban district.

      This is an article from the Kingman Daily Miner in Kingman, Arizona from 2009.

      Law enforcement always over reacts. It’s how they are trained. Plus, to law enforcement, it’s not about the lives of citizens, it’s about the lives of the first responders, and not being sued by citizens who get hurt. If first responders decide that one of them will die rescuing you, they will let you die while they go home to their families. So please, don’t tell me what a wonderful job law enforcement does. You make me want to puke.

    • JMAshby

      Only a wingnut would follow up insults with “my friend.”

      And Liberal laws?

      Republican Governor John Kasich is the one who decided not to extend a ban on exotic animals.


      • laddieluv


        We have a winner!

  • Bubble Genius

    It was explained why quite adequately – it was getting dark, tranquilizers don’t work instantly and then you have a shit-ton of extremely hyper, pissed off, quarter-ton piles of muscles, fangs and claws running around at precisely the time when people are coming home from work. It’s unfortunate, but seems to have been inevitable. It’s times like this I wish I believed in a deity so I could be secure in the knowledge the douchebag who released all these animals is burning in hell.

    • moofus

      a zookeeper / director from either the Columbus or Cincinnati Zoo was interviewed on site on NPR that evening, they stated that they agreed with the decision that was made, though they felt it was terribly unfortunate. There was not time to acquire enough powerful tranquilizers and keep the public from immediate harm. it wasn’t 1 tiger on the loose, it was something like 18