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The Strange, Sordid Tale Of The Zanesville Zoo Escape

Updated 17 Dec 2018 746.8k views12 items

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. 

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