Sheriff Releases More Detail on Exotic Animal Release

by Danielle Cotterman on November 4, 2011 at 6:50 am

Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz is now revealing more details from the day Terry Thompson released his 56 exotic animals and then took his own life.

It happened October 18th on Thompson’s farm on Kopchak Road. Newly released records and dash cam video show in detail how the dramatic day unfolded. The Deputy Reports tell multiple cases of animals charging at deputies before being shot and killed. One Deputy wrote that a bear died only 7 feet from where he was standing. The combined reports depict a picture of how the animals continuously escaped the fenced-in property.

"We knew once the animals were out of the pins that they were uncontrollable but once they got down and started leaving the property where the officers were pulling in was the part that was pretty, pretty scary," said Lutz.

No animals were captured on the dash cam but officers can be seen responding and gun shots can be heard.

Deputy reports reveal the condition of Thompson’s body upon arrival. According to one deputy a tiger was chewing on Thompson’s body. Lutz confirms the preliminary autopsy reports said Thompson did sustain a bite wound to the head. Authorities were unable to immediately approach the body due to the number of large cats in the area.

"Law enforcement is a hard business you’ve got to be willing to help people to get in this profession," said Lutz. ‘"Their ability to perform under that kind of pressure you just need to commend them for what they did."

Sheriff Deputies were forced to kill 48 animals that day including lions, bears, and endangered Bengal Tigers .