Motorists are warned to stay in their vehicles as officers with assault rifles patrol a rural area near Zanesville, Ohio, after dozens of escaped animals from a wild-animal preserve.
There's nothing that makes the case for government regulation like having wild carnivores -- lions, tigers, grizzly bears -- turn up in your yard. Or have your local schools closed because free running wolves and cheetahs might hunt down the children.
The owner of a private zoo in Zanesville, Ohio, apparently freed 48 exotic animals from their cages before apparently taking his own life. Based on the news accounts, by any reasonable standard Terry Thompson should not have been allowed to own or keep these animals.
He had been cited repeatedly for failing to care for them and allowing them to run loose. He had had several run-ins with the law, and only three weeks ago had finished serving a one-year sentence for violation of the gun laws.
The ideal choice would have been to have game specialists track down the escaped animals with tranquilizer guns, but a tranquilizer dart is not sure thing with a grizzly and meanwhile three school districts were forced to shut down and local residents were warned to stay in their houses.
The sheriff felt he had no choice but to order police and his deputies to shoot to kill, and, by Tuesday morning, 35 of the 48 escaped animals were dead, their only crime being the captives of an unstable owner. The Columbus Zoo was able to rescue the primates -- monkeys, baboons and apes -- and three leopards only because they were kept in the house.
Ohio evidently has no law regulating the sale and ownership of exotic animals. News accounts say there was an executive order governing the animals but John Kasich, the new regulation-averse governor, let it lapse.
Taking wild animals out of their natural habitat is just asking to be punished by the law of unintended consequences.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.