Terry Thompson appeared to have loved his animal companions, over 50 of them, and spent most of his waking hours with them. But, we aren’t talking about dogs, cats, and other domesticated pets. His animals were lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, and other exotic animals. One wonders how he was even allowed to raise and cage all of these exotic animals on his Ohio property.
Two days ago he opened their cages and let them free on his 40-acre Ohio property, then immediately killed himself. Details are emerging that question his reason for committing suicide – a huge tax bill, liens to his property, or potentially a wife that recently left him. Ohio police are being criticized for shooting the freed animals. But, the real question is, “How was he ever allowed to have these animals in the first place ?” Thompson also had a criminal record for federal weapon charges and an animal abuse record of cruelty and torture of his cattle.
Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland had passed a temporary executive order that banned the sale of exotic animals. Current Governor John Kasich allowed that to expire upon taking office. Ohio is one of ten states that currently doesn’t regulate the sale of exotic animals. If nothing else, hopefully this disastrous event will help bring awareness to the extent of damage that can happen without regulation.
Do you think exotic pet sales should be illegal? Thanks for taking the poll below. And, if you think it should be illegal, please sign the Care2 petition that would stop the sale of exotic animals in Ohio.
As co-creator of Through a Dog’s Ear, I am offering my Care2 readers a free download from our latest release, Music to Calm your Canine Companion, Vol. 3. Simply click here and enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy.