Four bears and four lions were transported from central Ohio on Tuesday, a month after the new statewide exotic animal law went into effect.
According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the animals were being transported at the request of their owner, Andrea Morris, who requested that the animals be taken to a sanctuary after she said she could no longer take care of them.
Members of the wild animal sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colo., removed the animals.
"It's very difficult. It's very upsetting for everyone. We've all been close to these animals, but they're going to a great place, so how can you not be happy about that," said Morris' friend, Tina Wagner. "These animals were hand raised by her, fed by her, cared for by her, lived in their home with them, slept in their beds with them."
Wagner said Morris took the animals in because no one else would.
A number of the animals were from the Zanesville farm of Terry Thompson, who released more than 50 animals in October 2011, before committing suicide.
Wagner said the Thompson farm became a so-called drop off center for desperate animal owners who could no longer afford their exotic pets.
"Andrea did not start this out on her own, she knew Marion and Terry needed help," said Wagner.
Erica Pitchford-Hawkins of the Ohio Department of Agriculture said that moving the animals was a good option.
"Right now, any transfer of any dangerous animal is prohibited in the state. That went into effect Sept. 5. In order for the rescue to actually take the animals to Colorado, the Department of Agriculture had to authorize the move, so that's what we came to do," Pitchford-Hawkins said.
The Colorado rescue paid for the transportation of the animals.
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