Ohio Department Of Agriculture Quarantines Exotic Animals At Zoo


UPDATED: Thursday October 27, 2011 7:22 PM

The Ohio Department of Agriculture issued a quarantine on Thursday to block the transportation of six released exotic animals from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium back to a Muskingum County exotic animal farm.  

Marian Thompson, the widow of a Zanesville man who released his exotic animals last week before he committed suicide, told attorneys she planned to reclaim the six animals that survived.

According to the ODA , the order was issued because the animals could possibly be infected with a disease as a result of the conditions in which they were previously held.

The order is effective indefinitely and prohibits the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium from releasing or moving the animals to Thompson, the ODA said.

Thompson will be able to appeal the quarantine order and is entitled to a hearing within 30 days.

Thompson's attorneys notified the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium of her intentions, according to a news release issued by the zoo on Thursday.

Animal care experts at the zoo have cared for three leopards, two Celebes macaques and a young grizzly bear since rescuing them.

On Oct. 18 and 19, law enforcement personnel were forced to shoot 49 other animals that had been released by Terry Thompson and were a threat to public safety.

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."

Zoo officials have worked with a governor's task force to draft a framework for permanent legislation to enact stronger, enforceable Ohio laws restricting private ownership of exotic animals.

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