East Texas wildlife refuge reacts to Zanesville animal massacre - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texas wildlife refuge reacts to Zanesville animal massacre

TYLER, TX (KLTV)- Thursday authorities in Ohio said they believed all of the exotic animals that were released from a farm in Zanesville had been accounted for.

Wednesday we told you about the Ohio man who let dozens of exotic animals -- lions, tigers, bears and wolves-- out of their cages, and then allegedly killed himself.

Experts from an East Texas wildlife refuge said it's tragic so many animals had to be killed, but there was really no other option.

Terri Werner at Tiger Creek Refuge in Tyler said what happened to the animals in Ohio is heartbreaking.

"It was a horrible sight to see with all of those animals laid out there-- dead. And you are talking about animals like the tiger... an endangered species," said Werner.

"Because we keep these animals in captivity we want to give them the best possible lives that we can," said Tiger Creek Animal Care Director Jennifer Chellette.

While some argue the animals should have been tranquilized, even experts said tranquilizers wouldn't have worked fast enough or maybe even at all.

"Once they're pumped up you cannot sedate them. That adrenaline will actually keep them from going to sleep," said Werner said.

She also said it was dark and losing track of the animals wasn't an option.

"You have residents all around him. You had a major highway next to him so the animals were going to get hurt and they were going to hurt somebody else," Werner said.

She said putting the animals down was really the best option.

"There are some private owners that do a very good job, but unfortunately in this instance we had an owner that wasn't very mindful of their animals and didn't care what happened to them in the long run," said Chellette.

But they said the worst part is knowing it all could have been avoided.

"We have things in place to help prevent this. Those animals probably should never have been in his possession to begin with," Werner said.

But, now it's too late and those who spend their lives saving these animals are left wondering why they weren't cared for in a way they deserved.

Ohio's rules on owning exotic animals have taken the most blame for the tragedy.
Each state has its own regulations but in Texas each county is required to either regulate or ban the ownership of exotic animals that are considered dangerous.

In Smith County it's illegal unless you're operating a zoo or rescue facility.

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