Lions, tigers and bears. Oh my! (updated)

When the killing ended, the exotic carnage was scattered across the countryside around this town in south-central Ohio.

Eighteen Bengal tigers and 17 lions. Six black bears, two grizzlies, three mountain lions and a baboon. Two wolves.

In all, 56 beasts were set free Tuesday by owner Terry Thompson, who then killed himself. Nearly all of the animals died.

Terry Thompson threw open the cages of the exotic animals he loved and committed suicide in what may have been one last act of spite against his neighbors and police.

Source: Detroit Free Press

What a crazy story! At first, it was suspected Thompson was murdered and that the animals had escaped. The authorities found out about the situation when “the sheriff’s office was flooded with calls that wild animals were loose. Deputies went to the animal preserve and found Thompson dead and the cages open. Several aggressive animals were near his body and had to be shot, the sheriff said.”

It’s not clear why Thompson ran the sanctuary but if he deliberately let the animals loose, he must have been aware that they would be killed. Another curious fact noted in this article: Ohio has some of the nation’s weakest restrictions on exotic pets and among the highest number of injuries and deaths caused by them.

Update: A large cat did bite the owner after he was dead.

As the hunt winded down on Wednesday, a photo showing the remains of tigers, bears and lions lined up and scattered in an open field went viral provoking visceral reactions among viewers, some of whom expressed their anger and sadness on social networking sites.

The police responded, they had no choice. This was a dangerous situation.