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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wife Wants Rescued Exotic Animals Back (Updated)

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM

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Update II: Nevermind. As one might have suspected, the state was going to do something to make sure this didn't happen. Per 10TV: "BREAKING: Ohio Dept. of Agriculture issues a quarantine on exotic animals, meaning they must stay at Columbus Zoo."

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Update: The six rescued animals from the Zanesville exotic animal mess have been comfortably relaxing at the Columbus Zoo since their capture. As we noted below, Marian Thompson, the widow of Terry Thompson, was distraught at the death of her husband (even though they were dealing with some relationship issues) and the deaths of the animals. She referred to them as her "children," saying one primate even slept with her in bed, and she wanted the remaining animals back.

That could happen as soon as today, 10TV reports.

The zoo has no legal rights to the animals and removed them from the farm with the permission of Marian Thompson.

"We had hoped Ms. Thompson would leave the animals at the zoo in the care of our team of professionals" said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium CEO and President Dale Schmidt. "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."

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Marian Thompson, the wife of Terry Thompson, the man who unleashed his sizable zoo of exotic animals on Zanesville before killing himself, wants the rescued animals back, according to Good Morning America.

56 animals in all were released; 48 were shot and killed by authorities.

Terry Thompson had recently served a stint in jail and was facing a bill for $68,000 in unpaid taxes. Marian was heartbroken over the death of her husband and the animals, which she called her "children." One of the primates slept in her bed, she said.

Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo where the rescued animals — three leopards, two macaque monkeys, and a grizzly bear — are currently being cared for, talked to the press about Marian's condition.


"I understood she was very upset at me for taking her 'children' ... for someone killing her 'children,' and why would I be up there trying to take the remaining three leopards, (the small apes) and one grizzly. ... She was crying. She was actually uncontrollable.

You know what I did? When you see somebody that's just beaten to death, she's just done, she's lost her husband, I can't help that ... but you see someone that's has lost everything — I hugged her and I tried to hold her. She was shaking. She said, 'I've lost everything.' I said, 'I'm not taking your children. I'm taking them to the Columbus Zoo to take care of them. They're still your children, they're still your animals. But we cannot bring them back in these conditions. I'm trying to help you right now."'

Meanwhile, there's a strong push from lawmakers in Ohio to tighten up laws in the state regarding owning exotic animals. Currently, those laws are less than strict, requiring little more than a pinky swear before you're allowed to own lions and tigers and bears.

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