Problems With Muskingum County Animal Farm Owner Date Back To 2004

Posted on:

< < Back to

Documents released by the Muskingum County Sheriff's Department detail complaints with Terry Thompson and his animals dating back to 2004.

On Tuesday, Thompson, 62, opened the cages at his animal preserve near Zanesville and then killed himself.

Deputies killed 48 animals – including 18 rare Bengal tigers, 17 lions and eight bears – in a hunt across the region that lasted nearly 24 hours.

Numerous complaints have been filed by Thompson's neighbors and area residents over the last seven years, including public safety concerns.

Many of them were problems with horses and cattle getting loose.

Other complaints alleged animal neglect and abuse.

But, in 2008, investigators examined the safety of the exotic animals on the farm.

Deputies found the animals living in what they called "unsanitary conditions" and they considered the animals cages a "serious risk to public safety."

The Thompsons were required to make the improvements to the cages so the animals could not get out.

But, authorities still weren't convinced that the animals wouldn't someday get out of the cages and leave the property.

The county prosecutor was even brought in and it was determined that the county had no authority to enforce regulations on exotic animals.

The reports are all attached below.