Thursday, October 20, 2011

Police Lion: Do Not Cross

Hanna, right. Guy who looks like Ned Beatty, left.
Question:  What's worse than looking outside your house on a stormy day and seeing Jim Cantore standing there with a camera crew?

Answer: Living near a wildlife preserve and seeing Jungle Jack Hanna standing around holding a press conference.

So, the press conference might not have come as too much of a shock to the residents of Zanesville, Ohio, who are not sound sleepers to begin with, what with Terry Thompson's Home For Dozens of Lions and Tigers and Bears.  

Oh my.

Here's the story:

This Thompson fellow had a farm, but on this farm no one went "Ee-I-Ee-I-O."  They went "growl" and "roar" and "chomp."  He had over 50 animals - mountain lions, grizzly bears, monkeys, tigers, you know, the usual assortment of critters.  There were cheetahs, wolves, giraffes and camels.

Even a giraffe can be pretty tough to deal with.  I saw a guy get looged on at the Zoo once by a giraffe, and it was not all that funny, according to him.

And Thompson had the usual assortment of issues with the local officials, and people called in complaints about the treatment of the animals, and he went bankrupt a couple of years ago.  And the US Dept of Agriculture took away his animal license because he let people wrestle with one of his bears. 

So you see, this is not a stable American we are dealing with.  Or "were" dealing with, more accurately to say, because he had his Richard Cory moment on Tuesday night, shooting himself dead, after letting all the animals out of their cages AND removing the locks from the cage doors so they couldn't be caged up anymore. 

Well, you heard the rest of the story.  The animals left the farm like you'd expect they would. How are you gonna keep 'em down on the farm, after they've seen the farm?  Most of the animals ran off, although it was reported that several of them hailed cabs out on the main road. The local cops, animal control officers, veterinarians and who-all else came running after them.  Did you know that when you shoot a big cat with a tranquilizer dart, it takes eight minutes for the cat to go to sleepytown?  Well, it does, as they found out in Zanesville.  Do you have any idea how far a cheetah can run, and how many things he can do, in eight minutes?    Ask them in Zanesville.

As I am writing this, they are still out there roundin' up the herd, and one supposes that the survivors will be taken to the Columbus Zoo and forced to appear on tv talk shows with Mr Hanna. 

As I am writing this, no humans have been harmed.  But one guy was arrested for trying to steal the body of a dead tiger.

As I am writing this, Mr Thompson is still dead, and as sorry as I am for those who mourn him, I feel he took the chicken's way out, and I'm not lion.  Bear with me.  I didn't steal these jokes; that would make me a cheetah.

As I am writing this, I am wondering just what it takes to be the sort of person who captures animals who belong in the wild and forces them to live in Ohio. 

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