Did the police department of Zanesville, Ohio do the right thing when they fatally wounded 49 escaped exotic animals yesterday? Terry Thompson, owner of the reserve, released the animals then killed himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The police at the scene claimed there was no other way to apprehend the wild animals than by destroying them with gunfire. And US TV star Jack Hanna stands by their decision. And Mr. Hanna is taking some flack for it.
I’m a Twitter user (@NigelWindsor) and I love to follow the trending topics. Last night “Jack Hanna” started to trend. I clicked on the link and that is how I found out about the Zanesville tragedy. I saw there was a lot of negativity directed towards Hanna by my fellow Twitter users. They were calling him out on his claims that destroying the animals was the only option.
First let’s look at the facts. Which animals were let loose? There were 18 Bengal tigers, 17 lions, six black bears, a pair of grizzlies, three mountain lions, two wolves and a baboon. Now it doesn’t take a zoologist to figure out that that’s quite the group of dangerous animals. Imagine all these animals, hungry might I add, escaping into the suburbs of Zanesville. Your average 180-pound human male is hardly going to stand a chance against a hungry Bengal tiger. The Zanesville police had to act fast and decided that the best way to compromise the situation was to kill the animals. A local veterinarian attempted to tranquilize one of the tigers but that just served to make it angry. This is when Sheriff Matt Lutz gave his deputies permission to open fire. Photos of the deceased animals have made it into the public and some people are shocked the police would act in such a way.
There is a small but vocal public outcry about Jack Hanna right now. In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer he claimed that “It had to be done.” He is of course talking about protecting the public’s safety. But a lot of Tweeters came out against him, claiming that Hanna is an advocate of animal slaying. They were making Hanna out to be some kind of bloodthirsty animal hater. Here are some Twitter comments:
@kagraber: “I agree w/ shoot to kill order” Eff you,Jack Hanna. The wrong famous animal person got stingray’d
@planetbluesky Jack Hanna: No animals friend!! :'(.. Hope the animals come at night and haunt him in his dreams!!
@firemom: Apparently Jack Hanna is getting threatening calls for saying Sheriff Lutz made the right call. Because *that’s*okay.
@BSVLMJ Jack Hanna calls himself “wild animals advocate”. Yeah, sure. Great advocate! What a joke!
I believe the “Hanna-hatred” is uncalled for. It’s not like he sneaked into a monkey’s cage and slaughtered it’s inhabitants with a jungle knife. But the way some people are carrying on it’s as if he did. In my opinion there was no other option but to destroy these animals. Imagine if they had gotten out into the surrounding suburban areas and started eating the local children. I’m sure there wouldn’t be an outcry for the poor animals then. It’s just an unfortunate situation that couldn’t be avoided. The real blame for this situation rests on the shoulders of Terry Thompson. And he’s no longer with us.