The Fairfield County Sheriff's Office is investigating if someone cut a lock and let a 400 pound lion free from its cage.
John Moore said he woke up Sunday morning to a call from a state wildlife agent. They told him his lion was out of its cage.
"The chains had been cut. Someone let her out and someone baited her to get her out," Moore said. "It's a lion. What were they thinking?"
A trail of turkey giblets was plopped in front of the cage door. Nadia hadn't gone far.
"She was out in the street, just watching the birds and looking around," Moore said.
For Moore and his family, the 2-year-old lion is just a loving pet. Moore was a caretaker for Terry Thompson who freed more than 50 exotic animals in Muskingum County before killing himself. Moore is now working toward his Ph.D. in zoology. Moore says Nadia's breed is extinct in the wild.
"If they're born in the wild, leave them in the wild. But if they're born in captivity, it's our responsibility to take care of them as best we can," said Moore.
Nadia is still a 400 pound beast with wild instincts.
"You've got to remember that and we try to take all safety precautions for that," said Moore.
It's something many neighbors don't forget. There's never been a problem.
"To think that everybody was running around and the lion was running around too," said neighbor Russ Miller.
"My kid's fishing in a tournament right here now. It just doesn't feel safe," said Lora Waller.
Moore wonders about Nadia's safety. He thinks someone is trying to steal her for profit.
"You take her out of state and sell her. I mean, that's a lot of money," said Moore, "I want to see them found. I want to see who did that. Who would be that stupid?"
The township trustees say Moore has the proper state licensing to own Nadia. Still, they say they'll likely look at whether other precautions need to be taken.
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