Jaye's Update on the Ohio Tragedy.
October 25, 2011
As I promised, I have been looking into what happened in Ohio concerning the useless death of so many animals. It seems that the only people that speak badly about Terry Thompson and the way the animals were cared for is the officials who allowed Terry to continue having the animals. I still want to see for myself all of the citations and cruelty convictions that they say he was charged with and I would like to know if this is indeed the case, then why did the officials turn their backs on the animals and allow them to remain in Terry's care. I realize that there are NOT exotic animal laws in Ohio, but every state has cruelty laws.
OK, I just went and read the Ohio state cruelty laws and they are actually very well written and carry strict guidelines. The law makes reference to animals and does not say anything about exotic animals not being protected under the cruelty statute. I would feel that had Terry been charged with so many convictions and citations he would have been MOST definitely ordered not to have or be able to house or care for any animals again. Why??? Why if he had all of these charges was he allowed to keep the animals? Things are just not making in sense to me in this.
Also, the authorities knew that terry was placed in prison. Why did they not make constant inspections on his place knowing that he was not there to care for the animals? People that knew Terry and visited his facility said that he truly loved the animals and that he took very good care of them. Also, I did not realize that Terry had just been released from prison just a few weeks before this happened and that when he got home from prison the place was having many financial issues and was in a bad way. I also heard that Terry told a law enforcement officer just days before the tragedy that he needed help with the animals, Had EARS known of his needs, I would have immediately taken food to him in Ohio for his animals. Why did the officer not assist him in getting the help that he needed?
It is important that I know the truth so that I can put my mind to rest, what really happened there? Who was the last person to see him alive? Where was the caretaker that had taken care of the animals while Terry was in prison? Why would Terry cut the fences to let the animals out when it would have been so much easier just to use his keys? Some say the fences were destroyed so that the animals could not be captured and the enclosures used to contain them any longer. This makes no sense to me.
Terry knew exotic animals. He knew that they would not be able to tranquillize the animals to be able to get them back into their enclosures. So, why destroy the pens? Why did the hungry big cats not maul and eat Terry after he shot himself and was lying dead in a pool of blood. It seems to me that starved and hungry big cats would have taken advantage of an easy meal. Do the research and see how many people have been killed and mauled by big cats. Once you are down, you are fair game and they will take full advantage of this. Sorry everyone, I just really want to know the truth. Far too too many unanswered questions.
Ears vice president, Gail Bowen, is always saying that she feels so badly for the exotic animals because they are in prison for crimes that they did not commit. We even made our EARS motto,"Preserving with Dignity" just for that reason. That is why EARS has the largest privately owned turn out pens in the state of Florida. We have several large turnouts for our big cats and bears to run and play in. One of our turnouts is over 30,000 sq feet. Our animals are happy and have plenty of room so they do not feel the need to pace back and forth like a caged animal usually does.
Friends of Terry say that they feel that in Terry's mind, his last act for the animals was one of kindness, giving them the ability to for once know and feel freedom. If Terry took his own life then I must understand that this is a man that is in no way thinking rationally and maybe I need to accept that maybe, just maybe in his mental state terry thought he was releasing the animals to a better place, freedom.
I hope one day to know the truth about what really happened at Terry’s. I do know that at first my only thoughts were how could he be so heartless to do this to animals in his care. Remember I said in my first letter that I was always told not to ever speak badly of the dead for they are not here to defend themselves. I am truly sorry for being so quick to judge Terry without even knowing him. I hope to one day know what happened in the last few hours of Terry's and the animals lives.
I do hope to have a memorial for the animals and pick a night that we can all walk outside and light a candle for all animals in memory of the ones that died in Ohio. Think about how beautiful it would be if all of the animal lovers in the world light a candle at the exact same time. I sure would love to see the light that would be seen from above for that.
October 20, 2011
It saddens my heart for the useless and needless killing of the magnificent animals in Ohio. I want our members to know that we will do everything that we can to find out why someone that had so many convictions of animal cruelty could be allowed to continue keeping animals, especially exotic animals that require so many special needs and attention. Somewhere, someone is responsible for allowing him to continue to have animals when it is so obvious that he never properly cared or provided for them.
I watched CNN news last night as Jack Hanna (play videos at bottom of Notes From Jaye page) who was on the scene commented about how many people have called him from all over the world criticizing him for not doing more to prevent the animals from being killed. There was nothing that Jack or the sheriff's dept could have done to prevent the inevitable.
I was always taught to not speak ill of the dead because they cannot defend themselves. In this case I will make an exception. The owner of the animals (unless he had completely lost his mind) knew exactly what he was creating just by the way it was done. It appears that he let the animals loose in the late afternoon and then killed himself. Why in the late afternoon, because he knew that the animals being free would go unnoticed for a few hours giving darkness a chance to set in and that once the night came it would be complete chaos. Law enforcement had NO choice put to defend the people of the town and since it is nearly impossible to tranquilize an animal in the dark there was nothing they could do but to shoot them. Scared, confused and hungry animals are very dangerous and had the Sheriff chosen not to do what he did, innocent people would have died and the sheriff would have been blamed.
Please do not be upset with law enforcement on this. Even Jack Hanna said that they tried to tranquilize one of the tigers and the veterinarian who was a very good shot, hit the animal and the animal charged her and had to be shot before he reached her because he could have killed her in one second. They did try to capture the animals, but it really was impossible. If anything else could have been done to help the animals, I know that Jack Hanna would have done it. You could tell on the news how devastated he was at the loss of the lives of the animals, as this is the species of animals that he has dedicated his life to saving.
If blame should be placed on someone, it should be on the selfish man that chose to turn the animals loose putting them in harm's way. Why did he not call someone and ask for help? If he truly ever cared about the animals then why allow them to be traumatized, hunted and killed? Had he ever cared about the animals why was he charged with 17 separate counts of animal cruelty? There is no way that anyone will ever convince me that he cared for the animals because they were living in complete filth. So even if it is determined that the man completely lost his mind and was certified mentally incompetent and he felt that his last gift to the animals would be to set them free, prior to this, the animals would have been taken care of and he would not have been charged with so many different animal violations. I feel the release of the animals before he did himself in was another act of cruelty by someone that truly did not care about himself or the animals in his care.
As I am sitting here writing this I am wondering how long of a drive it is to Ohio and whether I should drive there myself to obtain copies of this man's criminal records and find out why NO ONE stopped him from having animals with so many convictions. I also wonder how many other people there are in Ohio that have animals in the same conditions as this man and the law is doing nothing about them either. I really would like to know the answers to this question, wouldn't you??
I think that it would be nice to talk to people that knew him and knew the animals. I would like for River Rosie our EARS Web Cat to place something special on our memorial page about the animals that died in Ohio, but I would feel it would do more justice to them if I just knew their names so they could be remembered.
I would like some FEEDBACK on this. Click on the orange links to let me know your thoughts & to post your comments directly on the EARS Blog Post regarding this tragedy. Scroll down to bottom of blog post to locate the submit response form. Maybe there are a few people out there that feel the same way that I do and would like to go to Ohio and find out the real story as to why this tragedy happened. I also would really like to know something about the animals so that they can be remembered and do what we can to stop this from happening again so that these animals did not die in vain.
I was an animal cruelty investigator in Marion County for over thirty years and was head of the cruelty department with the Marion County Sheriff's department. I would love to investigate this and find out why and how this came to be.
I know this may sound strange to many of you, but I am Native American and I believe so much in the spirits of the animals and I believe that I am in tune with many animal spirits. I have been in a state of unrest since this happened. I feel like there are millions of butterflies in me trying to get out. I feel that I am in some way processing much of the fear and trauma that these magnificent animals went through and I must help put their spirits at rest.
Please say a prayer for other animals that are being kept in horrible conditions and pray that they do not go unnoticed until it is too late.