US Sheriff: Wolf, Monkey Still Loose After Wild Animals Freed

Posted October 19th, 2011 at 4:15 pm (UTC-5)
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A sheriff in the central U.S. state of Ohio says a wolf and a monkey are still on the loose after about 50 wild animals were set free from a privately owned exotic animal farm.

Sheriff Matt Lutz told reporters Wednesday that deputies have killed most of the freed animals, including black bears, lions, grizzly bears, mountain lions, tigers and a wolf.

They all were set free Tuesday, when the owner of the farm opened their cages before apparently committing suicide.

The former director of the nearby Columbus Zoo, Jack Hanna, said the scene was like something from “Noah's Ark.” Hanna defended officials' decision to shoot and kill the animals. Sheriff Lutz said the shoot-to-kill order was necessary for public safety.

Law enforcement officials said they were aware of neighbors' complaints about problems at the farm. Deputies had visited the property several times in the past few years.

The owner recently was released from prison, where he served time on a weapons-related charge. Officials also said he had a prior conviction for animal cruelty.

The farm also was home to camels and giraffes. Orangutans and chimpanzees kept in cages inside the farmer's home did not escape.

Schools in the area closed for the day and signs along area highways warned drivers to stay inside their vehicles.