Marian Thompson, the widow of an exotic pet enthusiast who unleashed 56 dangerous animals into Zanesville, Ohio before committing suicide, wants her leopards back.
A SWAT team was forced to kill 49 of the Terry and Marian Thompson's pets, including 18 rare Bengal tigers, wolves, bears, and monkeys after he released them into the wilds of Ohio before shooting himself. The surviving six animals—three leopards, a grizzly bear, and two monkeys—are now at the Columbus Zoo.
The animals are currently quarantined by order of the Department of Agriculture, but Marian can appeal it. The Associated Press reports,
It's not clear whether Marian Thompson wants to take the surviving animals back to the farm or to an alternate location, said Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz, whose office isn't taking a stance on whether the creatures should return to Zanesville.
"If she wants to bring them back here, to this farm, then we're working on what we're allowed legally to do to make sure that everything is safe and appropriate," Lutz said.
Zoo officials oppose letting the lady have her animals back:
We had hoped Ms. Thompson would leave the animals at the zoo in the care of our team of professionals. We are trying to get authorization from government authorities and agencies to ensure they stay at the Zoo. Unfortunately, the current laws do not protect the animals and at this time we have no legal right to stop them from being taken from the Zoo.
Marian's neighbors also oppose returning the animals. Her next-door neighbor, who "found himself standing about 30 feet from an escaped lion before it was killed," reportedly "feels for Thompson and recognizes her loss, but would prefer not to have lions and tigers as neighbors." Also, could you please turn down the music, I have a big day at work tomorrow, the extremely reasonable man added. [AP, Marion Star, Slate, image of confiscated leopard via AP]