Exotic Animal Escape Cost Muskingum Co. Sheriff $8,500

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An Ohio sheriff says handling the escape of dozens of dangerous wild animals from a private compound last month cost his agency about $8,500.

Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz  told a working group studying Ohio's exotic animals laws that the cost was for his department only.

The figure is contained in minutes of the group's Oct. 24 meeting reviewed by The Associated Press after they were published Wednesday.

Sheriff's deputies were forced to kill 48 wild animals, including bears, lions and endangered Bengal tigers, after their owner freed them late in the afternoon of Oct. 18, then committed suicide.

The working group is proposing recommendations that would likely ban dangerous animals and allow existing owners to keep such wildlife but require new permit rules for them.