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Tragedy in Zanesville: Terry Thompson Driven to Suicide; His Animals Needlessly Slaughtered

From Ken Adachi, Editor
October 21, 2011

Tragedy in Zanesville: Terry Thompson Driven to Suicide; His Animals Needlessly Slaughtered (Oct. 21, 2011)

"Leave it to some dumb cop to shoot and kill the animals instead of allowing them to be tranquilized and re-caged. They have the same low regard for human life." rumplestumps 1:53 AM on October 19, 2011

I hear news over the radio these days since they turned off analog TV transmitters in 2009. I'm not interested in giving the NSA a 'window' into my home via the new HD digital (two way) highway, so I listen to the radio while I'm working.

It was disgusting, yesterday, to hear the talk show hosts and reporters at KFI (640 AM radio Los Angeles) talk about the death of Terry Thompson (the owner of the 'exotic' animal farm sanctuary in Zanesville, Ohio) with the same mockery, callousness, and insensitivity that they displayed when talking about the death of of Muammar Gaddafi. They were blaming Terry for the death of his animals because he must have been "crazy" for keeping so many "wild" animals and then opening their cages before he committed suicide, because "he should have known" what would happen to them.

You can read the details of the Zanesville incident in this article

Scary Sefari in Ohio Ends with Carnage, questions - USA Today

"Terry Thompson , 62, owner of an Ohio wild animal farm, released dozens of exotic animals from their cages and killed himslef on Tuesday, police said. Area schools were closed Wednesday as officials hunted the animals."

And this article,

Sheriff, expert defend killings of freed animals in Ohio

After reading 4 or 5 stories about Terry Thompson, you could see that Terry was a do-it-yourself kind of guy. He seemed to have a lot of skills from flying planes to fixing motorcycles, he cared about the welfare of big animals, and he had a collector's interest in firearms and guitars. What a 'whack job" huh?

A neighbor, Bill Weiser said: "He had a different slant on things. I never knew him to hurt anybody, and he took good care of the animals."

It's clear that the caring of so many large animals may have played a role in Terry's wife living apart from him, but it was equally clear that she felt as compassionate and close to those animals as Terry did. She referred to them, when talking to Jack Hanna, the TV "expert" mentioned in the news articles, as my "children".

We don't know with certainty that Terry committed suicide and we don't know with certainty that he was the one who opened those cages.

The radio news reporters called it suicide, but strangely, the guy in charge, Sheriff Lutz, was quoted in the USA Today article as saying: "He [Sheriff Lutz] wouldn't say how Thompson died but said several aggressive animals were near his body when deputies arrived and had to be shot."

There was no suicide note.

Consider the strange case of Sam Mazolla:

"In the summer of 2010, an animal caretaker was killed by a bear at a property in Cleveland. The caretaker had opened the bear's cage at exotic-animal keeper Sam Mazzola's property for a routine feeding.

Though animal-welfare activists had wanted Mazzola charged with reckless homicide, the caretaker's death was ruled a workplace accident. The bear was later destroyed.

This summer, Mazzola was found dead on a water bed, wearing a mask and with his arms and legs restrained, "

Is there more to Terry's suicide story then we are led to believe?

I know it's easy to second guess after the fact, but that local Sheriff office should have called in animal experts from within the state and put much more effort into trying to save those animals instead of just blowing them away under the panic button of 'public safety'.

The death of Terry Thompson and those animals is an appalling tragedy. I can only hope that someone, with a sense of humanity and understanding, will take the time to investigate this story properly and tell us what really happened in this case, and more importantly, why.

Ken Adachi

Copyright 2011  All Rights Reserved.


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