Schools in eastern Ohio were declared close following the escape of about 48 exotic animals from a preserve, including lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, bears, giraffes and camels. Area residents were warned to remain indoors as sheriff’s deputies and SWAT teams patrolled the area. Flashing signs on the highway warned motorists, “Caution exotic animals; stay in vehicle.”
Authorities speculate that Muskingum County Animal Farm owner Terry Thompson may have killed himself, possibly after intentionally releasing the animals. The animals’ cages had been opened, and the farm fences were left unsecure.