Gov. Kasich Joins Zanesville Exotic Animal Battle


Ohio Gov. John Kasich Friday stepped into the battle about five exotic animals that survived the October release by Terry Thompson in Muskingum County.

10TV News obtained a letter Friday to a Muskingum County official that said public safety must be a priority, 10TV’s Kristyn Hartman reported.

The letter from the governor’s counsel said that she was disappointed that the Muskingum County humane society believed conditions at the Thompson farm posed no threat to the animals. At the end of the letter, she said that she hoped the humane society would take action to prevent any further cruelty to animals.

The letter comes as Terry Thompson’s widow, Marian Thompson, prepares for a Monday hearing to get custody of her animals back.

It also comes one day after a ruling allowing Marian Thompson to receive some of the firearms that were confiscated from her home, Hartman reported.

Thompson’s attorney, Robert McClelland, wrote a letter to the Ohio Department of Agriculture that stated, “Marian Thompson never wanted the incident of Oct. 18 to happen. In the wake of events, she never wanted to part with her animals.”

The animals have been in the care of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium since the October release and recently tested negative for contagious diseases during a preliminary evaluation.

McClelland said that the animals should go back to Thompson, who he said had adequate caging for the exotic animals.

“Not giving Marian Thompson back her animals is a violation” of state law, McClelland said.

Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said that there have been numerous complaints about the Thompson farm.

“Numerous times, we’ve been over there with state agencies to try and do something about the animals,” Lutz said.

Lutz said that there have been 30 to 35 complaints in recent years.

The state told the county humane society that they could work together to ensure residents’ safety and to make sure the animals would find humane homes, Hartman reported.

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Previous Stories:

April 26, 2012: Widow Of Zanesville Man Who Set Exotic Animals Free To Get 40 Guns Back

April 25, 2012: Ohio Senate Approves Exotic Animal Bill
April 24, 2012: Panel Accepts Changes To Exotic Animal Rules
April 23, 2012: Zanesville Exotic Animals Given 'All Clear' During Preliminary Evaluation
March 22, 2012: Exotic Animals Tested, Fate To Be Decided Soon
February 7, 2012: Wife Of Man Who Released Animals, Killed Self Wants Animals Back
January 30, 2012: Leopard Released In Zanesville Euthanized After Spinal Cord Injury At Zoo
January 18, 2012: Report: Zanesville Man 'Distraught' Before Releasing Exotic Animals
December 22, 2011: Final Autopsy Released For Zanesville Man Who Freed Exotic Animals
November 10, 2011: Muskingum Co. Exotic Animal Owner's Weapon Inventory Brought Federal Charges
November 4, 2011 First Video Released Moments After Exotic Animals Set Free
October 27, 2011: Ohio Department Of Agriculture Quarantines Exotic Animals At Zoo
October 19, 2011: Schools Close After Animals Escape Muskingum Co. Exotic Animal Farm
October 19, 2011: Rescued Exotic Animals Arrive At Zoo
October 19, 2011: Residents Come Dangerously Close To Escaped Animals
October 19, 2011: Sheriff: Deputies Had To Shoot Escaped Animals To Kill
October 18, 2011: Schools Close After Animals Escape Muskingum Co. Exotic Animal Farm