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The top 11 animal stories of 2011

By: Russell McLendon on Dec. 27, 2011, 7:43 a.m.
Exotic animals in Zanesville, Ohio

Photo: Associated Press/YouTube

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Exotic animals in Ohio

When 56 exotic animals escaped from a private zoo in Ohio this October, it was like Noah's Ark had shipwrecked in the Buckeye State. The escapees included two wolves, eight bears, 17 lions and 18 tigers, all of which were kept in subpar conditions at the zoo by 62-year-old Terry Thompson, who apparently committed suicide. Thompson was found dead at his home on Oct. 18 with many of the animals' cages left open.

Police spent days tracking down all the animals, and ended up killing 49 of them for fear of public safety. Ohio is known for its lax pet laws, but in November a task force advised the state to ban the sale and ownership of exotic animals.