The Muskingum County Sheriff's Office has a reason to celebrate.
Sheriff Matt Lutz said his dispatchers are being awarded for their efforts during the exotic animal release in Zanesville last October. Dispatchers Bill Rowe and Joleen Kinsel received Smart 9-1-1 Telecommunicator Awards, and the entire dispatch center won the Ohio 9-1-1 Gold Star Award.
"I think it's always good to recognize someone for their hard work," said Lutz. "It makes us feel good because we're part of this office. We just put a new 9-1-1 center together since we feel it's one of the most important parts of our office, and these guys have always done excellent work."
Lutz said that when Terry Thompson released dozens of exotic animals and then killed himself, dispatchers were flooded with phone calls from concerned citizens. He said they were able to keep the situation under control.
"I really don't think it was anything more than what they do on a regular basis," said Lutz. "We've talked about this around the state of Ohio. The animal incident to the outside world is a unique thing that happened, but to us, it was just another incident that happened."
The sheriff's office accepted a $500 check along with the awards.