Authorities are actively searching for "wild and exotic animals" after the owner of the Muskingum County farm from which they escaped was found dead Tuesday evening.Don't pet the kitties or the big dogs.
Deputies were called to a home on Kopchak Road after a report of escaped wild animals, including cougars, tigers, lions, cheetahs and grizzly bears at about 7:20 p.m.
As a result, Zanesville, West Muskingum, Foxfire Community and Maysville schools are closed for Wednesday.
Terry Thompson, the owner of the private farm, was found dead. Officials did not elaborate on how he died.
The sheriff said deputies shot up to 25 animals on the way to the home to check on the owner, but that there could be up to 48 animals still on the loose. Deputies said the animals' cages were found open.
"There were grizzly bears and black bears there. There were cheetahs, lions, tigers. Those were the primary things we would be concerned with. Any kind of cat species and any kind of bear species right now is what we're mainly concerned with," said Sheriff Matt Lutz.
Deputies have been given the order of "shoot to kill" in the effort to keep the public safe.
The Muskingum County Sheriff's Office encouraged residents near the Kopchak Road and Interstate 70 (near U.S. 40) area to use caution and stay inside.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Ohio gets a little taste of wildlife:
Posted by Rick Moore on 10/18/2011