Tests performed on released Ohio exotic animals

AP News
Posted: Mar 22, 2012 8:28 PM
Tests performed on released Ohio exotic animals

Veterinarians from an Ohio zoo performed medical tests Thursday on the five exotic animals held there since their owner released dozens of wild creatures from his farm before he committed suicide in October.

The Columbus zoo has been caring for three leopards, two primates and a bear under state-issued quarantine orders. One leopard was euthanized after being struck by a door lowering between two enclosures.

The animals are those that survived the release outside Zanesville in eastern Ohio. Authorities were forced to kill 48 of 56 others, including Bengal tigers, lions and bears, as they moved into the community.

Terry Thompson's widow, Marian Thompson, has sought to reclaim the surviving animals, but the Ohio Department of Agriculture ordered that they be kept in quarantine. Ohio law allows the agriculture director to quarantine animals while investigating reports of potentially dangerous diseases.

Officials initially were concerned about whether the animals were strong enough to survive being anesthetized for testing, but the state veterinarian determined Tuesday that they were.

The animals awoke after their medical tests and were doing fine, a spokeswoman for the agriculture department said Thursday night.

The wildlife underwent physical exams, X-rays and blood testing, said agency spokeswoman Erica Pitchford. The state will send blood and urine samples to an outside lab for analysis. The results could take one to two weeks.

Pitchford said Marian Thompson's veterinarian sent a veterinary technician to be present during the testing and to collect the split samples from the animals.

Thompson has appealed the quarantine order. A hearing on the issue has been scheduled for April 23. Messages left Thursday for her lawyer, Robert McClelland, were not immediately returned.

McClelland told the Zanesville Times Recorder that he thinks any testing of the animals will be inconclusive.