Photo by Jay LaPrete/Getty Images.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture ordered the state Monday to return five exotic animals to the woman whose husband infamously released them from their farm last fall, the Associated Press reports.
The woman, Marian Thompson, is the widow of Terry Thompson, who is believed to have released the animals before taking his own life last October. Police decided to kill many of the escaped animals, including bears, lions, wolves, and tigers, out of concern that they would attack humans. In all, 48 creatures were destroyed, with two others presumed eaten by other animals.
Six animals ultimately survived and were taken to the Columbus Zoo after the incident. One was later put down. Two leopards, two primates and a bear remain at the zoo, where they were held under a quarantine order until recently. They could be back on Thompson's farm as soon as Wednesday.
The bizarre case brought national scrutiny on Ohio's lax laws on exotic pets. Officials said that under current statutes, they had no authority to keep the animals off of Thompson’s farm. The AP notes that a bill recently passed the state Senate that seeks to ban new ownership of many exotic animals and require permits for those already there.