In 1977, Terry Thompson bought a tiger cub named Simba for his wife; it was the beginning of the end. Terry and his wife had acquired dozens of exotic animals by the time of his demise on October 18th, 2011. Almost all of the exotic animals were unleashed on the rural town of Zanesville, OH. Thompson, experiencing what many thought at the time to be mental health break, ended his own life after releasing 49 of the 56 exotic animals in his collection. In the following chaos, all 49 were slain; 18 tigers, 17 lions, eight bears, three cougars, two wolves, one baboon, and one macaque.
The Zanesville tragedy had such an impact on the general public that the legislation regarding keeping exotic animals as pets was changed within a year, putting stricter regulations on owners. In the aftermath of the sad turn of events, one local made a profound observation: "I don't like animals but I would never hurt one. The animal lovers are the ones that hurt them." After this tragic loss, the concept of keeping exotic animals as pets changed dramatically in American society.
There Were Warning Signs Something Was Very Wrong
Thompson Took His Own Life After Releasing As Many Animals As He Could
Law Enforcement Officers Were Given The Order To Take Any Action Necessary
One Of The Animals Attacked Thompson Post-Mortem
Staff From The Columbus Zoo Tried To Join In With Tranquilizers To Reduce The Carnage, But They Were Too Late
Animals Were Arranged Alongside One Another To Help Law Enforcement Officers Keep Track