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Monday, February 20, 2012

GQ on Ohio's Exotic Animal Massacre

Posted by Alison Hallett on Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 11:44 AM

GQ has a great article this month with the heartbreaking title "18 Tigers, 17 Lions, 8 Bears, 3 Cougars, 2 Wolves, 1 Baboon, 1 Macaque, and 1 Man Dead in Ohio," about the Ohio man who released his private menagerie of exotic animals from their cages and then killed himself.

The piece breaks down the timeline of that day, including painful interviews with some of the officers involved in putting the animals down:

Kanavel's tactic was to shoot for the head a couple of times, and then move on to the body and keep putting rounds into it. "I was sick, shooting these animals, because they didn't ask to be there," he says. "And, you know, I'm a cat person."

It goes on to investigate our murky attitudes toward animal ownership and care, as well as how, exactly, a crazy, gun-loving Vietnam vet was allowed to own 18 tigers:

For the majority of Americans who know little about the world of exotic animals, the astonishing events in Zanesville begged some obvious questions. How could a private citizen have amassed a collection of so many unusual and potentially dangerous animals in the first place? Surely he must have broken every law that prevents your next-door neighbor from secretly housing an ambush of tigers?

The answer to that first question: It's surprisingly easy. The answer to the second question is: What laws?

It's a sad, fascinating article that also contains the surprising phrase: "Jack Hanna was supplying Charlie Sheen's tiger blood." The whole thing is worth a read.

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