Ohio officials to return exotic animals to widow

Ohio officials say they will allow for the return of five surviving exotic animals to a woman whose husband released dozens of wild creatures last fall before he committed suicide.

This photo provided by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium shows one of three leopards that were captured by authorities a day after their owner, Terry Thompson, released dozens of wild animals and then killed himself near Zanesville, Ohio. Officials said Thursday Oct. 27, 2011, that six exotic animals will be quarantined instead of being returned to Thompson's wife.The office of Ohio Gov. John Kasich says the state Department of Agriculture has ordered the quarantine. (AP Photo/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Grahm S. Jones)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio officials say they will allow for the return of five surviving exotic animals to a woman whose husband released dozens of wild creatures last fall before he committed suicide.

The Ohio Agriculture Department announced the decision Monday at an agency hearing in which they were to defend state's authority to quarantine the animals on suspicion of infectious diseases.

It's unclear when the animals would be released to Marian Thompson.

Ohio's agriculture director was expected to lift the quarantine later Monday.

Thompson's husband released dozens of exotic animals from their Zanesville farm Oct. 18th before killing himself.

Authorities were forced to shoot 48 creatures. Three leopards, two primates and a bear survived and have been held at the Columbus zoo. One leopard later had to be euthanized.


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