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An attorney for the late Terry Thompson’s wife who is seeking the return of exotic animals that survived an October escape says she has adequate cages for them at her Kopchak Road farm. Three leopards, two primates and a bear survived the released of dozens of wild creatures in Muskingum County. They have been held under state-issued quarantine at the Columbus Zoo. One leopard had to be euthanized. Attorney Robert McClelland wrote to Ohio officials last week on behalf of his client, Marion Thompson. The state’s Agriculture Director had asked him to prove Thompson had made arrangements for the animals care. Test results this week showed all five animals are free of dangerously contagious or infectious diseases. The Associated Press obtained McClelland’s letter Friday through a public records request.
Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz says he knows that it's possible those animals could come back here, but he does not want them back in County. But he says his hands are tied and he can only do what the law says he can and now that is not much. Lutz says he has conferred with Muskingum County Prosecutor Mike Haddox and the State Agriculture Department about this issue.