POWELL, Ohio - The wife of the owner of the Zanesville exotic animals wants the surviving ones back, Good Morning America reported Friday.
Hours after three leopards, two macaque monkeys, and a grizzly bear were transported to the Columbus Zoo, Marion Thompson showed up.
Zoo officials said she wanted to see the animals and make sure they were doing OK. Thompson said the animals are her children and the female primate sleeps in her bed, GMA reported.
A zoo spokesman said they will continue to care for the animals. GMA said the Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz will have to decide where the animals will reside.
Police said Marion’s 62-year-old husband and farm owner Terry Thompson let all of his 56 animals out of their cages Tuesday before he killed himself. Sheriff's deputies then shot 48 animals -- including 18 rare Bengal tigers, 17 lions and eight bears. Only a monkey was still missing, and it was likely killed by one of the big cats.
Marion Thompson had ordered the 48 animals be buried on the farm.
Terry Thompson was mired in debt. Court records showed that he and his wife owed at least $68,000 in unpaid taxes to the IRS and the county, and he had two federal tax liens filed against him last year. Terry had just gotten out of federal prison last month for possessing unregistered weapons.
He had run-ins with his neighbors and the law over escaped animals and conditions at his preserve. But whether he acted out of desperation or vengeance in setting the animals loose was unclear.
Terry and his wife spent much of their time and money caring for their menagerie, neighbors said.
The sheriff said that he spoke with Marion and that she was distraught over the loss of her husband and the animals. "You have to understand these animals were like kids to her," Lutz said. "She probably spent more time with these animals than some parents do spend with their kids."
Federal officials said the government had no jurisdiction over the farm under either the Animal Welfare Act or the Endangered Species Act since the animals were held as private property and were not exhibited or being used for other commercial purposes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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