ZANESVILLE, OH — Hundreds of wild animals were running loose in Muskingum County, set free from their cages.

Lions, tigers, bears, wolves, panthers, elephants, giraffes – they are all running wild in Ohio!!

The man who owned the animals was found dead on the wildlife preserve that he ran, authorities said.

What happened to Jack Jones — and how his animals were all set free — went unanswered last night, as deputies continued to try to round up the wild beasts.  Those that they cornered, they shot, Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Workman said.

“Our first responsibility is to protect the public,” Workman said.  “And we like shooting game.”

Game hunters from around the world have descended upon  Ohio – trying to bag a beast.

Late last night, Workman said deputies had killed at least 290 animals, and the sheriff’s office had cordoned off about 25 to 70 square miles in the county.  “Some hyenas got away, but I think every other mammal is contained.”

The deputies were being assisted by the State Highway Patrol, authorities from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the Wilds, the state Division of Wildlife, the county Emergency Management Agency and township fire departments.

A plan to bring in a patrol helicopter with a thermal-imaging camera to find animals was scuttled last night by stormy weather.   President Obama may authorize the use of drones to kill the wild beasts.

Zanesville, West Muskingum and Maysville school districts, as well as Muskingum County Starlight School, all canceled classes for Wednesday to keep children inside. Workman also recommends that residents remain inside for the rest of the year and call 911 if any wild animal is seen. “Don’t shoot them, we want do all the animal killing ourselves.”

Workman said that fifty-four deputies with assault rifles immediately went to 270 Kopchak Rd., where a 46-acre “wild-animal-rescue farm” owned by Jones”  borders I-70.

There, Workman said, they found Jones dead outside his house and “every single animal-cage door open.” Workman said the deputies saw a number of animals standing outside their cages, still on the property, while many others had escaped a fence that surrounds Jones’ property.  There were several pandas sitting in the barn, just waiting to be rescued.

Deputies immediately began shooting animals – “anything that moved, that wasn’t human, was a target.”

It’s unclear how many had gotten beyond the fence, which Workman said isn’t designed to keep in wild animals.  Some even thought they saw Bigfoot running through a field.

Workman said a man who is a caretaker on the animal preserve told deputies that 480 animals lived in cages outside the house on the property. More animals — mostly monkeys, baboons, apes and kangaroos — lived inside Jones’s house.  There were hundreds of snakes, too.  And a white dolphin was in the backyard swimming pool.

“Those inside the house were still in the cages,”  Workman said.  “Except the monkeys.  They were  inside the kitchen making oatmeal.”

The animals that were set loose included grizzly and black bears, wolves, and several species of large cats, including lions, tigers and cheetahs,  and elephants, hippos, antelope, zebras and very large baboons, among other wild beasts.

Late last night, there was a report of a wolf and a polar bear still roaming at least 7 miles from the farm property.

SWAT officers with night-vision equipment were searching for animals in Licking County early this morning – shooting to kill.

Workman said Muskingum County deputies had fatally shot and killed at least 270 animals when they first drove to the property. A wolf and bear also reportedly were killed along I-70.  Hundreds of squirrels committed suicide – because they feared they were about to be shot.

Officials from the Columbus Zoo and The Wilds came in shortly after the discovery with tranquilizer guns, hoping to capture some animals alive.  But they would have to get to the animals before the Deputies did.

Neighbors had lodged numerous complaints about Jones for letting his animals wander.  Jones had been   put on house arrest for six months and paid a $2,870 fine in that case. He also was ordered to move his animals to bigger land – and to write “I will not cage wild animals” five hundred times.

Ohio has no rules regulating the sale and ownership of  wild animals.

Kate Williams, 27, who lives in western Muskingum County, said that Jones has had lions, tigers and a bear get loose in the past.

Williams’s family owns a feed cattle farm nearby and said that Jones would come and take their dead cows to feed his lions.

“He’d have claw marks all over him,” she said.

Williams said she understands that Jones’s wife,  Wendy, recently left her husband and moved out.  The animals stayed and now… they are free!

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  1. Wow a bunch of redneck trigger happy morons. Tell me the logical reasoning why you can't tranquilize the animals? Oh you can't you simply enjoy shooting needlessly. What a bunch of inbred retards!!!

  2. Jack Hannah and law enforcement decided that for the safety of the people of Zanesville (top priority over that of the animals) the animals themselves would need to be shot using lethal force throughout the night. Once daybreak hit, they were then able to convert back to the use of tranguilizers in order to save the animals and allow them to be taken to the Columbus Zoo. As of now, the last I've heard, there are three animals remaining on the loose (a grizzly bear, mountain lion, and a monkey). Law enforment officers as well as zoo officials did what they had to do to ensure the safety of the general public, nothing more and nothing less.

  3. They did not hjave to shoot to kill. If u can shoot with a gun at night then y not use a trankulizer? Either way if u miss ur risking the animal( NOT beast!!!) To charge at u… At that time then ya use a gun.. Either way it is safe for the people that live there!!! They just wanted an excuse to kill wild animals n not get introuble!!!

  4. They did get story right notice the squirrels thatsaccounted for large numbers and this farm since 2004 workmen commented on "all" animals not the "exotic" animals you are counting that distinguishes many more accounted calculated thanks Weekly World News for the Address and names not in MSN and TV local and world news.Safety and Jack Hanna The director of Chicago Zoo has been there a while call 911 if seeing any wild animals one arrested for trying to steal a cat 62 year old vietnam veteran he committed suicide and let out animals no suicide note so unknown reasons pins left and his charges multiple guns Terry Thompson in trouble years only had permits for two bears.

  5. ITS MATT LUTZ!!!! Who the heck is Matt workman???? Know your facts. This is completely wrong, from the names to the kinds of animals that were loose. What a poor reporter… he NEVER said they like killing game. They were protecting the community. … your reporter is an idiot!!!

  6. and………………… WHO THE HECK IS JACK JONES AND HIS WIFE WENDY!??????? OMG…. TERRY THOMPSON AND HIS WIFE MARION RING A BELL?????? Where on God's creation did this reporter get this info???

  7. This is untrue. The guys name was Terry Thomson, a family friend, let out only 56 animals and then shot himself from issues that he had. The police killed 49, only because they were very aggressive, and had 6 sent to the zoo. One is still unfound. People really need to get there facts straight before spreading this stuff across the web. Thanks. -Muskingum County Community.

  8. Btw, there were no elephants. Just bears, wolves, tigers, a monkey, and lions that got loose. And his wifes name is not Wendy. If you want to know the real story go to whiznews.com or zanesvilletimesrecorder.com

    • get with the program Bud ! Sherrif Crawford did mention elephants,gators and cats & bears.
      Wendy,Mindy Cathy…what difference does it make? I guess you are the type that tips over
      the printed flowers on the carpet.

  9. The county sherrif later disclosed that the animals had to be shot dead in order to prevent
    the spread of hoof and mouth disease.wich makes a lot of sense if you ask me.


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