Widow of the Man Responsible for Animals Killed in Ohio Tragedy Wants Animals BackPublished October 28, 2011
Flickr User Phil Romans
According to an article in the online Mansfield Journal, the widow of the man responsible for the 49 animals killed in Ohio last week reportedly wants her animals returned to her.
When I first learned of the tragic events on Terry Thompson’s Ohio wildlife preserve last week, my initial reactions were deep sorrow over the loss of the innocent exotic wild animals (some of which are endangered species) and anger toward the people keeping them as pets.
But I was absolutely livid the other day upon receiving an email from one of my readers informing me that Terry Thompson’s widow, Marian Thompson, is trying valiantly to have the six surviving animals presently being kept at the Columbus Zoo (three leopards, a grizzly bear and two monkeys) returned to her. I thought, “How could anyone that completely comprehends the special care these animals need even consider giving them back to her?"
While I cannot in any way condone keeping these animals as pets, for a moment (simply as another passionate animal lover) I found it difficult not to put myself in Marian’s shoes. Not only has Marian just lost her husband, but she's also lost the animals she (reportedly) profoundly adored.
When Jack Hanna, Columbus Zoo director emeritus, met with Thompson and Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz to load the surviving animals for transport to the zoo, Thompson begged them not to take the animals away.
"She truly loves those animals, and this is devastating for her," Hanna said. "She just lost her husband and now she's lost the only family she has. It’s tragic.”
In spite of her overwhelming sorrow, Marian (who was out of town on business when the tragedy unfurled) cooperated with attending officials, helping them to load the animals into their crates.
"She's completely cooperated with the sheriff's office and zoo and wants what is best for her animals," Marian's attorney Dean Wilson commented. "Like Hanna said, these were her children."
To be sure, I am walking that very fine line between compassion for Marian and indignation about what was described as the deplorable conditions under which most of these animals were kept. This tragic event speaks loudly against keeping exotic wild animals, whose behavior is unpredictable, as pets. Doing so can only lead to unspeakable heartache for their owners and disaster for the animals.
Do you think the surviving animals should be returned to their owner? Share your opinions in a comment.