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Widow of Ohio zoo owner registers remaining exotic animals

COLUMBUS, Ohio The widow of the private zoo owner who released his exotic animals and then killed himself has taken steps to register the five surviving animals with the state.

Marian Thompson submitted her state registration form for the two leopards, two primates and a bear that had been returned to her in May.

Marian's husband, Terry Thompson, opened all the cages of his 56 exotic animals in October 2011 before he committed suicide. The animals ran rampant across the small town of Zanesville, prompting law enforcement to shoot and kill the potentially dangerous beasts. In total, 48 animals were killed by deputies and officers, while one monkey was eaten by a large cat.

  • Ohio officials to return 5 exotic animals to suicidal owner's widow
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  • Six animals survived because they stayed in their cages. Marion is trying to keep five of the living animals. The sixth animal, a leopard, had to be euthanized after a cage door slammed on its neck while it was with the authorities, the Zanesville Times-Recorder reported.

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    "The journey of their return home proved to be an unbearable emotional experience filled with continuous disappointments, setbacks and the loss of our beloved Anton," Marion told the Zanesville Times-Recorder in October. "The eventual return of the cherished five after a six-month confinement and quarantine at the zoo has finally provided me the strength to move forward."

    Records show she also has two 11-week-old leopards on her property.

    Marian added that she is planning to write a book about her husband's suicide, the Zanesville Times-Recorder added. She was away on a business trip when her husband released the animals, but was deeply hurt about the loss of the animals and her husband.

    The Ohio Agriculture Department said in April 2012 that they were worried about returning the animals to Marian, who admitted to them that she had not repaired cages and would not allow animal welfare experts to inspect the premises, CBS affiliate WOIO in Cleveland, Ohio reported. Current law gives animal regulatory powers to local, not state authorities.

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    The documents were obtained Monday by The Associated Press through a public records request.

    Monday was the deadline for owners of exotic animals in Ohio to register the creatures under a tougher law. Owners must say how many animals they have, where they are, and who their veterinarian is, among other details.

    Ohio's agriculture department said Monday it had received 130 registration forms accounting for 483 dangerous wild animals.

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