Muskingum County Sheriff Receives Award For Exotic Animal Response

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A national police group is honoring the Ohio sheriff who led the October big-game hunt after the owner of dozens of exotic animals released them and then killed himself.

The Zanesville Times Recorder reports Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz has been named Officer of the Month for January by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The group maintains a national police memorial in Washington, D.C., where Lutz will receive his award in May.
A member of the awards panel says Lutz addressed within a very short time a unique situation that posed a risk to himself and his officers. Deputies were forced to kill 48 wild animals including bears, lions and endangered Bengal tigers.
Lutz says he couldn't be more pleased by the award.
State and federal agencies that regulate captive animals have inspected a potential new home for six creatures that were kept at an Ohio zoo since their release.
Records obtained by The Associated Press show regulators visited a northeast Ohio farm where officials believed Terry Thompson's widow planned to take the half-dozen surviving animals. Authorities found problems at the farm, including gaps in fences.
The state later put the three leopards, two primates and a grizzly bear under quarantine at the Columbus zoo amid concerns they were exposed to disease.
It's unclear where they will go if the quarantine is lifted.