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Ohio agriculture department to investigate whether release of 400-pound lion was intentional

The Ohio Department of Agriculture says it's investigating whether a 400-pound lion was intentionally released from its cage this weekend.

Agriculture spokeswoman Erica Hawkins says the agency wants to know how the 2-year-old lioness ended up in a neighbor's yard Sunday in Fairfield County.

No one was hurt. Intentionally releasing a dangerous wild animal is a fifth degree felony under Ohio's exotic animal law. It's punishable by up to a year in prison.

Hawkins said the animal was registered, though its enclosure might not meet the state's temporary standards.

The lion belongs to John Moore. He worked as a caretaker for the suicidal man who freed dozens of exotic animals near Zanesville two years ago.

Moore tells WBNS-TV someone had cut chains and put turkey giblets near the lion's cage.