Wife Of Man Who Released Animals, Killed Self Wants Animals Back


UPDATED: Tuesday February 7, 2012 8:47 PM

The wife of the man who released 56 exotic animals and then killed himself last October threatened legal action on Tuesday if the surviving animals were not returned to her.

Marian Thompson, the widow of Terry Thompson, who released the animals, said that she wanted the animals that survived back in her custody.

Five of the surviving animals remained quarantined at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 10TV’s Chuck Strickler reported.

Ten days ago, a cage door dropped onto the neck of one of the leopards, which had to be euthanized.

Marian Thompson has been fighting to have the animals tested and back in her care since the October incident.

In a letter sent to the state, Thompson said that the leopard’s death was “negligent,” and she demanded an immediate hearing and testing of the animals by her own veterinarian.

According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the department was still reviewing the letter from Thompson’s attorney, who said that Thompson would seek legal action to regain custody of the animals if action was not taken by Wednesday.

The Thompson’s neighbor, Sam Kopchak, said that he was walking his horse back to his barn when he noticed a lion staring him down on the other side of his fence on the day of the release.

Kopchack said that it was a “miracle” that no one was hurt or killed and that the incident changed the lives of those living near the family.

“We don’t really want the animals back here,” Kopchak said. “I also think she should eventually get them. They are her animals.”

Ohio lawmakers currently have legislation in the works that would limit exotic animal ownership in the state, Strickler reported.

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