The six exotic animals rescued from Terry Thompson’s Farm in Muskingum County will not be returned to the Thompson family- at least for now.
The Office of Governor John Kasich said the State Department of Agriculture has ordered the animals to be quarantined. Officials want to be sure the animals are disease free before they are released. That’s instead of transferring them from the Columbus Zoo to Thompson’s wife, Marian, who planned to reclaim them and possibly take them to a preserve near Mansfield where she now lives.
"I think right now it’s the best thing for our community, I think it’s the best thing for the animals," said Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz. "I think the animals are in a very safe environment they are getting the medical attention they need."
The quarantine prohibits the Columbus Zoo from moving or releasing the animals to Mrs. Thompson until they are cleared of any potential disease. Thompson has 30 days to appeal the order and has a right to a hearing.
"It was very adamant of her from the start she wanted the animals back," said Lutz. "I don’t think she wanted the animals to leave out there, I know that for a fact, but I think talking to her and Mr. Hanna being involved it was in the best interest of everybody including the animals to go to the zoo."
The six animals currently being held at the Columbus Zoo include: three leopards, two macaques monkeys, and a grizzly bear.
The Zoo took the animals from Thompson’s farm in Kopchak Road with Marian Thompson’s permission but has no legal right to them.
Terry Thompson freed the animals and dozens of others before killing himself. Deputies had to hunt down and kill many of them. Ohio has some of the nation’s weakest restrictions on exotic pets.