Skip to content

Diatribe: Exotic Wild Animals Escape Into Dark Ohio Night … Frightening Local Mothers.


My mother is a brave and wonderful woman.  She confronts every obstacle with a positive attitude and enthusiasm.  I can think of very few instances (minus all instances involving snakes or things that look like snakes) that I really thought she had lost her shit.  The most vivid memory involves a raccoon in a garage.

At the time, we lived in a comfortable home in a nice neighborhood near the high school.  We had a nice yard and a detached garage.  One morning we raised the garage door to discover that a raccoon had made itself at home during the night.  I thought it was pretty cool, as I’d never seen one “up close” before, and I wanted to explore.  Nothing doin’ … mom called the police.  Before long, neighbors had gathered and the poor raccoon was scared out of its wits … spitting and hissing and wishing we’d all just leave him alone.  “IT’S GOT RABIES!” became the rumor of the day.

On Tuesday, Terry Thompson unfastened cages and left fences open on his farm before ending his life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound letting as many as fifty-one exotic animals run free into the dark Ohio night.  Authorities spent the better part of Wednesday accounting for the escaped animals.  Motorists were warned and schools were closed as sheriff’s deputies hunted lions, wolves, giraffes, camels, leopards and grizzly bears.  While authorities tried to use tranquilizers whenever possible to save the animals most, including 300-pound Bengal Tigers, were put down in the chaos that ensued.  The safety of the people involved in the search came first.

I find it difficult to believe that all of these animals had to be killed.  Of course, some of them had the potential to be extremely dangerous but it’s unlikely that giraffes, camels and chimps posed much of a threat to the community.  Of the fifty-six animals released, the lives of only one grizzly bear, two monkeys and three leopards were saved.

The whole episode reminded me of my mother and the raccoon in the garage all those years ago.  Of course, she’s not nearly as timid as she was all those years ago and has even been in the same room with a snake without convulsing, so I wonder what she would do now if she found a wild animal in her garage.  I’m guessing she’d call for help, fix a gimlet and watch the excitement unfold from a lawn chair.

UPDATE 05/04/12:  Five exotic animals returned to widow of Terry Thompson, who set them free before committing suicide.

UPDATE 06/02/13:  Exotic Animal Owners In Ohio Fight Bill Restricting Pet Ownership.

Copyright © 2011

From → Ovations

  1. Anonymous permalink

    I hate to think of those animals dying because some asshat who wanted to die did what he did.


    • I don’t think they all needed to be put down! Sure, they were racing against darkness and yes, there were a lot of animals. But they weren’t “killer chimps” or “toxic giraffes”. They should have tried harder to capture them. Of course, they shouldn’t have been on that guy’s farm in the first place!


  2. Anonymous permalink

    Right on! I remember the blasted raccoon but I don’t remember being in a room with a snake without convulsing. You’re also right about the lawn chair.

    Love ya,


  3. I agree. They should have been sent to the zoo and should have been there in the first place … at least not on his farm. This infuriates me.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Diatribe: Tigers In A Petting Zoo? Really?! « DiatribesAndOvations

Please LIKE and Share.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: