Posse Continues Hunt For Escaped Animals In Ohio
Update at 7:45 a.m. ET: Local Sheriff Matt Lutz just said on ABC's Good Morning America that about 35 of the exotic animals that escaped Tuesday from an Ohio preserve have been killed.
Our original post:
At least 25 of the estimated 48 lions, tigers, bears, wolves and other potentially dangerous animals that escaped from a Zanesville, Ohio, preserve on Tuesday had been killed by early this morning, The Columbus Dispatch reports.
The Dispatch adds that Muskingum County Sheriff's deputies were being assisted by a posse that includes troopers from the State Highway Patrol, "authorities from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the Wilds, the state Division of Wildlife, the county Emergency Management Agency and township fire departments" as they hunt the animals.
It still isn't clear what happened at the preserve. As The Associated Press reports, Sheriff Matt Lutz said "his office started getting phone calls at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday that wild animals were loose just west of Zanesville on a road that runs under Interstate 70. He said four deputies with assault rifles in a pickup truck went to the animal farm, where they found the owner, Terry Thompson, dead and all the animal cage doors open. He wouldn't say how Thompson died but said several aggressive animals were near his body when deputies arrived and had to be shot."
Today, according to the Dispatch, "Zanesville, West Muskingum and Maysville school districts, as well as Muskingum County Starlight School, all canceled classes ... to keep children inside. Lutz also recommends that residents remain inside today and call 911 if any wild animal is seen."
"This is a bad situation," the sheriff said.
WBNS-TV of Columbus has a video report. "Stay inside; protect your family," it begins.