Thousands of people have joined an online campaign to call for a ban on the sale of exotic species in Ohio state after animals escaping from a private zoo on Tuesday had to be shot and killed by local police.
Thousands of people have joined an online campaign to call for a ban on the sale of exotic species in Ohio after animals escaping from a private zoo on Tuesday had to be shot and killed by police.
So far, more than 80,000 people have signed the petition at Change.org, putting pressure on Ohio Governor John Kasich and other Ohio officials to ban the sale, ownership, and harboring of wild and exotic animals in the US state.
Hundreds of exotic animals are currently kept as pets in Ohio, which is one of fewer than 10 states that do not regulate exotic animal ownership.
Concerned Ohio resident Liz Dumler launched the online campaign after more than 50 exotic animals – including 18 Bengal tigers, 3 mountain lions, 6 black bears, 2 grizzly bears and a wolf – escaped from the privately owned zoo, Muskingum County Animal Farm.
Owner Terry Thompson is reported to have opened cages and damaged fences on the 73 acre property before killing himself. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, local police have confirmed.
Change.org director of organizing Stephanie Feldstein said: “What Liz Dumler has accomplished in a matter of hours is remarkable. Liz launched a campaign … and managed to recruit thousands of supporters in less than 24 hours… it has been incredible to watch Liz’s campaign explode overnight.”
In total, authorities killed 49 animals, citing public safety. Only six creatures were rescued – a young grizzly bear, 3 leopards and 2 monkeys, all of which have been moved to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and are now settling in under the watchful eye of director of animal care, Doug Warmolts.