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Ohio Gov. Blocks Widow of Ohio Exotic Animal Owner From Reclaiming Animals

The office of Ohio Gov. John Kasich says the state Department of Agriculture has ordered six exotic animals to be quarantined.

That's instead of transferring them from a zoo to a woman whose suicidal husband freed them.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium says it was notified that Marian Thompson would pick up the animals Thursday afternoon. She planned to reclaim three leopards, two primates and a young grizzly bear that have been cared for by the zoo since last week.

The zoo says it took the surviving animals from the farm in Zanesville with Thompson's permission but has no legal rights to them.

Terry Thompson mysteriously freed the animals and dozens of others last week before killing himself. Authorities had to hunt down and kill many of them.

Ohio has some of the nation's weakest restrictions on exotic pets, and efforts to strengthen the regulations have taken on new urgency since Terry Thompson opened the cages at his eastern Ohio farm near Zanesville last week, freeing four dozen animals that were later shot by authorities. Officers were ordered to kill the animals -- including rare Bengal tigers, lions and bears -- instead of trying to bring them down with tranquilizers for fear that those hit with darts would escape in the darkness before they dropped and later regain consciousness.

It's not clear if Marian Thompson plans to take the surviving animals back to the farm or to an alternate location, said Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz, whose office isn't taking a stance on whether the creatures should return to Zanesville.

"If she wants to bring them back here, to this farm, then we're working on what we're allowed legally to do to make sure that everything is safe and appropriate," Lutz said.

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