Most experts agreed that the Ohio officers had little choice but to kill the animals.
Unlike in television and movie portrayals, real tranquilizers take time to take effect, and the impact of a dart can make an animal aggressive or cause it to run.
Sedation "doesn't happen immediately," said Leigh Henry, a senior policy officer with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
In fact, a vet from a local zoo shot one of the tigers with a tranquilizer dart. But the animal started to run off, forcing officers to shoot and kill it.
Henry said that she believes the Ohio police did what was necessary.
"I'm not going to say who was right or wrong," she said. "I certainly wouldn't judge them for taking the actions that they did, when their primary responsibility was the safety of their community."
(See pictures of exotic animals rescued at the L.A. airport.)
Exotic Animal Shootings Highlight Need for Better Regs
Luke Dollar, program officer for National Geographic's Big Cats conservation initiative, said the public discussion should focus not on whether the animals should have been shot but on an absence of relevant legislation, which allowed Thompson's exotic-animal farm to exist in the first place.
"I hope we don't use this as a misdirected excuse to vilify or 'armchair quarterback' the men and women of law enforcement who were responding to an uncertain and dynamic situation with little chance of any good outcomes," Dollar said.
"This became an incident waiting to happen as soon as Thompson was able to buy that first tiger, then a lion, and so on. With proper legislation or regulation, we can prevent this from happening again."
but a blanket prohibition isn't appropriate
I think most of us will agree that we would prefer to see wild animals living in their natural habitats if the habitats can adequately support them,
There's no reason why a private individual cannot properly care for wild or exotics animals, and there's nothing more civilized about a public zoo than a private one.
Finn dAbuzz wrote:There's no reason why a private individual cannot properly care for wild or exotics animals, and there's nothing more civilized about a public zoo than a private one.
A private individual can, but it is clear that this one did not. That's where the lack of laws concerns me. There were numerous visits from authorities but they couldn't do anything because the laws for private menageries are actually much more lax than for zoos. If the guy had chosen to display the animals, he would have run up against a bunch more regulations.
There were numerous visits from authorities but they couldn't do anything because the laws for private menageries are actually much more lax than for zoos. If the guy had chosen to display the animals, he would have run up against a bunch more regulations.
Mr. Thompson, who had run afoul of the law dozens of times over questions of whether his animals were being fed regularly and kept in sanitary conditions, pleaded guilty to federal charges in April 2010 of possessing eight illegal firearms — five automatic weapons and three short-barreled guns whose serial numbers had been filed off, according to court documents.
Local law enforcement officials said they repeatedly visited the Thompson farm after receiving complaints, but could do little more than make sure that Mr. Thompson had the proper permits for keeping the animals. He did.
“We’ve handled numerous complaints, numerous inspections,” Sheriff Lutz said. “This has been a huge problem for us.”
Dave Sacks, a spokesman for the United States Department of Agriculture, said that under the federal Animal Welfare Act, the agency monitors exotic animal owners only if they exhibit the animals to the public for compensation.
“The rub in Ohio is that U.S.D.A. does not regulate that sanctuary because Mr. Thompson does not exhibit his animals to the public for compensation,” Mr. Sacks said.
Will Travers, the chief executive of Born Free USA, a nonprofit advocacy group that supports wild animals and opposes the exotic pet trade, said that Ohio is one of only eight states that do not regulate exotic animals. It did briefly after a bear mauling, but Gov. John Kasich allowed the ban to expire.
“Ohio has a particularly bad record when it comes to exotics,” Mr. Travers said.
We’ve handled numerous complaints, numerous inspections,” Sheriff Lutz said. “This has been a huge problem for us
I admit to not reading all of the linked articles, but of those I have read the only indication of how he treated these wild animals was a bit about his having declawed a tiger cub.
That's really quite a leap. It was a "huge problem" for them. It wasn't their only problem.
How many years does it take to know human nature?