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Rescued Zanesville Animals Being Taken By Thompson Family

Media Alert: Thursday, October 27, 2011


October 27, 2011

Patty Peters
Vice President Community Relations

Powell, OH – Officials at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium have been notified by attorneys for Marian Thompson, the widow of Terry Thompson, of her plans to take back the six animals that survived last week’s tragedy at their farm in Zanesville. The move could happen as early as today.
The animal care experts at the Columbus Zoo have been caring for the three leopards, two Celebes macaques and a young grizzly bear since rescuing them after law enforcement personnel were forced to shoot 49 other animals that had been released by Mr. Thompson and were a threat to public safety.
The Zoo has no legal rights to the animals and removed them from the farm with the permission of Ms. Thompson.
“We had hoped Ms. Thompson would leave the animals at the Zoo in the care of our team of professionals” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium CEO and President Dale Schmidt. “We are trying to get authorization from government authorities and agencies to ensure they stay at the Zoo. Unfortunately, the current laws do not protect the animals and at this time we have no legal right to stop them from being taken from the Zoo.” 
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been working with the governor’s task force to draft a framework for permanent legislation to enact stronger, enforceable Ohio laws restricting private ownership of exotic animals.
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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to more than 9,000 animals representing 675 species and provides more than $1 million annually to support over 70 conservation projects worldwide.  A recreational and education destination that includes the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park and 18-hole Safari Golf Club, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium hosts more than two million visitors annually and was named the #1 Zoo in America by USA Travel Guide.  A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Columbus Zoo has earned Charity Navigator’s prestigious 4-star rating. For more information and to purchase advance Zoo admission tickets, visit