Our inner compasses have gone awry


“Those who are too lazy and comfortable to think for themselves and be their own judge obey the laws. Others sense their own laws within them.”

— Hermann Hesse

A poster in a frame once stood near my bed carrying the above quote. I had saved my own nickles and dimes, and while my older sisters were spending time shopping for clothes and record albums, I had my eye on that poster. On one trip to the shopping center’s dime store, I finally had enough money to buy it.

Even then, I loved the power of words. I often checked out library books of quotations, and one other quote that I would have loved to have put on a poster was one from Chief of the Blackfeet: “Our land is more valuable than your money. It will last forever. It will not even perish by the flames of fire. As long as the sun shines and the waters flow, this land will be here to give life to men and animals.”

For those who respect the land and all of the animals that can come with it, blessings should rain down.

An imperfect world

If we lived in an ideal world, this shouldn’t require all sorts of written laws and rules and regulations. But, obviously, there are those who attain land and animals and do not sense their own laws within them, and this past week in Ohio, this turned in to one tragic topic.

For quite some time, neighbors had asked officials to do something about the man near Zanesville with 70 acres and many exotic animals. They were told that no laws pertained to this situation, so no action was taken to protect the animals or those on neighboring farms.

Imagine, for a moment, having your land adjoin this farm. One man whose land was photographed for the national news with an enormous dead lion lying against his fence had complained mightily, as he feared for the safety of his family and his horses.

After sheriff’s deputies were forced to kill dozens of tigers, bears, lions and other wild animals turned loose by their owner, who then took his own life, Ohio’s governor John Kasich signed an executive order to crack down on those who keep such wild animals on their property. This gives local officials more power to better regulate animal ownership, while also giving Ohio Department of Natural Resources power to review and inspect properties of all native wild animal permit holders.

Emergency orders had been signed by the previous Ohio governor, prohibiting exotic animal sales and ownership, but Kasich had let this expire, saying the state had no legal authority to enforce this.

Shame on us

Regardless of who should have acted to protect both a community and a legion of beautiful animals, it is obvious that nothing was done.

Politics and the written law shouldn’t play a part in something so elemental. What has happened to our common sense, our sense of civility and stewardship, our ability to sense our own laws within ourselves?

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.


  1. Ms. Sutherland, I would ask you, did you know Terry Thompson personally? Do you know that he actually did everything the media and Sheriff Lutz says he did?

    I am someone that is logical driven. Logical this whole situation is not. Sam Mazzola was found dead in his own bed, obviously murdered and the cages of his exotic animals tampered with but unopened. Not 3 months later a sheriff is called to respond to escaped animals. Not knowing the situation or even on site, he orders “Shoot to kill” before even arriving on scene. Any forensic evidence would have been compromised with the animals running loose, handlers not allowed to attempt to secure the animals. The owner found dead, then shot, bit on the head, then chicken parts thrown around, then shot with a shotgun?

    Mr. Thompson would have known that turning them loose was a death sentence to them and could harm the public. Suicidal people generally only hurt themselves and according to interviews with the media, Mr. Thompson was friends with many other exotic animal owners so why not just leave the animals to someone else.

    There is no logic in the events especially when you look at a much bigger picture of animal owners fighting the HSUS backed “Agreement” imposed by ex-Governor Strickland. Since this incident, Gov Kasich’s hand is forced to do something and that he has done. We have gone from a society of Innocent until proven guilty to a one of Exotic Animal Owners are GUILTY until PROVEN innocent.

    All the while, Wayne Pacelle at HSUS Headquarters can sit back and laugh because now one of the “Wild West” states is now being shutdown. HSUS even has an “ex”-animal terrorist on its payroll.
    I am not saying that HSUS or Sheriff Lutz is behind any of this. It is obvious where HSUS stands, they don’t let us forget and also obvious was the distaste the Sheriff had for Mr. Thompson. I would believe that some underground animal terrorist was behind this whole thing in an effort to push the Animal Rights Agenda so neatly folded into HSUS by-laws and statements.

    It’s not a conspiracy theory, its logical thinking by shifting a paradigm.


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