Missing Ohio Monkey Believed to be Eaten by Escaped Cat

Posted October 20th, 2011 at 5:00 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Officials say they have accounted for all the escaped animals set free from a privately owned exotic animal farm in the central U.S. state of Ohio.

Sheriff's deputies called off the search for the animals late Wednesday after saying that the only animal still unaccounted for – a monkey – was probably eating by one of the escaped cats.

Deputies were forced to kill 48 wild animals on Wednesday, including 18 rare Bengal tigers and 17 lions.

The animals were set free Tuesday, when the owner of the farm opened their cages before apparently committing suicide. Deputies with high-powered rifles searched the surrounding area to track down the animals.

Six animals were captured and taken to the nearby Columbus Zoo. A wolf was later found dead.

The former director of the Columbus Zoo, Jack Hanna, said the scene was like something from “Noah's Ark.” Hanna defended officials' decision to shoot and kill the animals. Police 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.

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