COLUMBUS — The six surviving animals that were turned loose Oct. 18 from a Zanesville exotic animal zoo will remain under the care of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, state officials determined Oct. 27.
The zoo issued a statement the same day saying the deceased owner’s widow, Marian Thompson, was on her way to pick up the animals — three leopards, two macaques monkeys and a grizzly bear.
Zoo officials said in a statement, they wished Marian Thompson to “leave the animals at the zoo in the care of our team of professionals,” but added they had “no legal rights to the animals” and had removed them from the Thompson farm based on her permission.
Thompson reportedly arrived at the zoo with one of her attorneys and a livestock trailer, but was stopped from removing the animals due to a quarantine issued by Ohio Department of Agriculture.
The Department issued the quarantine “because of the possibility that the animals could be infected with disease as a result of the conditions in which they were reportedly held,” according to an ODA statement.
Agriculture Director James Zehringer signed the order, stating “this quarantine will allow ODA an opportunity to conduct a full and appropriate investigation as to the health status of these animals.”
He also states, “ODA will take whatever further steps may be required to protect animal health within the confines of Ohio law.”
The order is in effect indefinitely and prohibits the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium from moving or releasing the animals to their owner until they are determined to no longer be a potential disease threat. The animals’ owner can appeal the quarantine order and is entitled to a hearing within 30 days.
Farm and Dairy placed a voice message with Marian Thompson’s legal counsel and is awaiting a response.