I learned yesterday morning that Ohio state officials were sending the five surviving exotic animals (two leopards, a brown bear, and two monkeys) back to Terry Thompson’s widow. If you recall, this man housed over 50 exotic animals in inhumane conditions. In October 2011 these wild animals were released out of their cages — by whom is unknown — prior to Thompson’s committing suicide. Most of the animals were shot and killed massacre-style by officials.
Imagine the post-traumatic stress these animals will have back on the property. It pains me deeply that this decision has been made, so divorced from a sense of basic right and wrong. This should not be happening.
Here I ask my animals, “What do you think of this?”
Serafina, my gray cat, says, “If I were a leopard in that position, I would be worried that my stomach is going to have a starving feeling again. I would also worry that I won’t get enough shade or enough room to stretch my body. I talked to those leopards, and they said they feel better now that they have a daily routine, and they feel safe. Why would anyone want to take safety away from animals? I think the people who are making these decisions are not seeing things clearly. I think they need to care more.”
Luca, my young poodle, says, “I think every monkey needs a tree to climb. Are they going to have a tree? Why don’t people who know about animals’ emotions and needs get to make these decisions?”
Bean, my black bunny, says, “When I think about these animals, I get a stomachache. They were never fed properly. I think it is sad because all the people who want to help the animals and keep them safe are not listened to. How do people become powerful when they do not have the ability to listen to others?”
Makia, my white cat, says, “I think the officials do not like animals or animal activists. I think they are doing it to say, ‘We don’t care about you and your idea of rights.’ I think it is not about the animals at all, it is about others feeling powerful. They should be ashamed of themselves and put in jail.”
Stormy, my Aussie, says, “I think that a powerful animal activist should become friends with an insider and make rules that the animals need to eat a certain amount of food per week, and also they need to have shade, and fresh water every day; and then they need to go check on this every day. Those animals are going to have serious problems when they get back to that place.
“Now they know what it is like to be someplace safe. They may have issues that the woman will not be able to deal with. I think that someone should tell the woman that if it gets too hard for her, she can give the animals back. Everyone tell the animals, ‘There are many people who love you. If you don’t like it, keep telling the woman you want to leave and go back to your other home, and eventually she will hear you. Be calm and know you’re loved.”