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Zanesville Exotic Animal Mess Doesn’t Surprise This Ohioan

I grew up about forty-five minutes from Zanesville, Ohio, the location of the recent exotic animal escape imbroglio after amateur zookeeper Terry Thompson released 56 animals including tigers, lions, and bears before shooting himself in the head. This is not super-shocking because Ohio is one of a handful of states that makes it more difficult to own a dog than import, say, a Bengal Tiger.

My roommate, Erik, is actually from Zanesville. Along with our friend Scott, who hails from New Philadelphia to the east, we often joke that we are all from the same shitty small Ohio town, only with different high school football mascots. In addition to being a Zanesville expert then, Erik’s father is also a veterinarian, who must field calls from some of these nutty exotic animal collectors.

“My dad’s always telling me, ‘Yeah, this guy just called and asked what he should do if his giraffe is puking green,’” said Erik as we both walked around our apartment in boxer shorts at 3 p.m. on a Tuesday (we have those kind of lives).

Therefore, it’s not super-shocking that a mentally disturbed, suicidal animal owner might decided to wreak some havoc by releasing his wild pets. It’s hard to believe that even after incidents like this where untrained local police departments are tasked with shooting dead a bunch of poor f***ing animals that didn’t do anything except get bought by an asshole, more people aren’t saying, “Hey, maybe we should pass a law that says any old asshole can’t just keep wild, dangerous animals on his farm. That seems like not too much to ask.”

In the video above, Columbus Zoo icon Jack Hanna talks about the incident.

For more fun on this tragic/unsettling/okay-kinda-funny-but-not-in-a-way-I-want-to-admit-in-a-public-forum, listen to these 911 calls from people wandering what the hell a goddamned lion is doing in their backyard.