The Aftermath of Exotic Animal Rampage
INSIDE EDITION reports from the scene of the exotic animal rampage where surviving animals are being cared for and authorities explain their handling of the situation.
Just-released video shows the animals, looking shell-shocked and traumatized, after surviving the slaughter in Ohio.
A leopard, captured alive after the mass escape, has an injured ear. A black panther and a bear are now safely locked up in a cage at the Columbus Zoo.
Officials say the six wild animals being kept at the Columbus Zoo are receiving the best care possible and are responding well to treatments so far.
Tom Stalf said, "We have three leopards here, and two monkeys, and we also have a young grizzly bear. They're doing well."
But the other 49 animals ended up in a mass grave dug by a backhoe. The final body count is depressing. Authorities say an astonishing 18 Bengal tigers were killed, nine male lions, eight lionesses, six black bears, three mountain lions, two grizzly bears, two wolves, and a baboon.
Two of the tigers reportedly once belonged to boxing great Mike Tyson.
INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd rode with Sheriff Matt Lutz to the sprawling 73-acre property where lawmen were given the shoot-to-kill order.
Boyd asked, "That first deputy pulled up on the scene and he instantly had a bear coming at him?"
"We had in a field right over here to the left we had a Bengal tiger put down just inside the fence," said Sheriff Lutz.
Police say owner Terry Thompson's body was found close to dozens of animal pens. Many of the animals were gunned down close to Interstate 70.
A glimpse inside the property itself shows where the actual pens where so many exotic beasts were kept, now covered in plastic sheeting.
The whole country is asking why so many of the animals had to be slaughtered.
Boyd asked, "What do you say to people who feel, you guys shouldn't have killed all the animals?"
"We did not have any control over these animals. We had no way to control them but by putting them down by deadly force and we had to control where they were at," said Sheriff Lutz.
Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, said an attempt to tranquilize one tiger failed.
"Our men tranquilized it. The tiger went nuts, which it should have. Now, did he really hit it? Did it really go into his system? Then the animal took off and they had to shoot the animal," said Hanna.
Officials say property owner Terry Thompson deliberately released the animals from their pens, then shot himself in the head.
His estranged wife, Marian, shielded her face under a coat and begged officials not to take the surviving animals away. She called them her children.
"How is she holding up through all this?" asked Boyd.
"Not very good. Nobody could ask her to be. A very traumatic experience for her. In her world she has lost just about everything she had and we recognize that," said Lutz.
She's been told by Jack Hanna she can visit the surviving animals whenever she likes.
Trending on Inside Edition
Man Finds Brother's Letterman Jacket Their Mom Couldn’t Afford in a Thrift Store 28 Years LaterInspirational
This Holiday Season Airbnb Is Offering You a Chance to Stay in the Original 'Home Alone' HouseEntertainment
Silence Surrounds Alleged Videotaped Sexual Assault of Boy From Louisville Private School Months AgoCrime
'West Side Story' Generates Early Oscar Buzz as Reboot of Beloved Film and Play Hits the Silver ScreenEntertainment
Man Exonerated of Alice Sebold’s Rape Says as She Addresses Her Role in His Conviction: 'I Accept Her Apology'Crime