UPDATE -Thompson animals declared healthy; quarantine-appeal hearing postponed

Time to start a new thread -to no one’s surprise!!!

Thompson animals declared healthy; quarantine-appeal hearing postponed

http://www.coshoctontribune.com/article/20120424/NEWS01/204240310/Thompson-animals-declared-healthy-quarantine-appeal-hearing-postponed?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFrontpage

Marian Thompson, widow of the late Terry Thompson, follows her attorney Bob McClelland into a hearing Monday at the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Thompson requested a hearing to have the five surviving animals under the care of the Columbus Zoo returned to her.
Written by Hannah Sparling, Staff Writer

ZANESVILLE — A quarantine-appeal hearing for Marian Thompson again was postponed Monday, the same day the Ohio Department of Agriculture released test results for five of Thompson’s exotic animals being housed at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

The test results show no signs of the dangerous or contagious diseases for which the animals were tested, according to a preliminary review by state veterinarian Tony Forshey. A list of the tests performed was not available Monday.

However, the animals will remain under quarantine for observation for signs of rabies, which only can be tested for after an animal is deceased, according to a release from ODA spokeswoman Erica Pitchford.

No determinations regarding the quarantine will be made until after the observation period is concluded, Pitchford said.

The standard observation period would be up Friday, six months after the quarantine was issued. It is unclear what might happen to the animals then.

The quarantine hearing stems back to Oct. 18, when Thompson’s husband, Terry Thompson, set free 56 exotic animals from his Kopchak Road farm before killing himself. Law enforcement officials killed 49 of the animals, and six were taken to the zoo.

One of the six, a leopard, later was euthanized after a cage door at the zoo struck its neck.

On Oct. 27, Thompson went to the zoo to pick up her animals but was blocked from doing so by a quarantine order from then-ODA director James Zehringer.

Thompson requested an appeal, which originally was scheduled for March 12. That hearing was postponed by the ODA, citing personnel changes, including the naming of a new director.

The hearing was rescheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at the ODA offices in Reynoldsburg. A group of about 20 people waited in the hearing room, but Thompson and her attorney Bob McClelland, of Zanesville, did not show up until just before noon.

They then asked for testimony to be delayed one week.

Thompson and McClelland quickly left the hearing room without answering any questions, but McClelland later said he asked for the postponement to give all parties involved time to review the test results.

Because the tests show no signs of disease and the hearing now will take place after the six-month observation period, ODA has the option to lift the quarantine before the hearing, McClelland wrote in an email.

If not, the burden of proof will be on the ODA to show the quarantine is necessary, he wrote.

Thompson’s hearing has been rescheduled for April 30. An independent attorney will conduct the hearing and submit his final report to ODA Director David Daniels, who will make the final decision regarding the quarantine.

hsparling@coshoctontribune.com; (740) 450-6758
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5 surviving Ohio exotic animals to remain under quarantine until Friday, then status unclear

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Shown is a black leopard,  one of three leopards that were captured by authorities a day after their owner released dozens of wild animals and then killed himself near Zanesville, Ohio.  Six of the released animals - three leopards, a grizzly bear and two monkeys - were captured and taken to the Columbus Zoo.Shown is a black leopard, one of three leopards that were captured by authorities a day after their owner released dozens of wild animals and then killed himself near Zanesville, Ohio. Six of the released animals – three leopards, a grizzly bear and two monkeys – were captured and taken to the Columbus Zoo. COLUMBUS ZOO AND AQUARIUM

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio— The five surviving animals from an exotic animal escape in October will remain under quarantine at an Ohio zoo until at least Friday, but it’s unclear what will happen to them after that.

The Columbus zoo began caring for three leopards, two primates and a bear after their suicidal owner released dozens of animals last year that had to be killed by authorities near Zanesville in eastern Ohio. One leopard was euthanized after it was struck by a door at the zoo.

The owner’s widow, Marian Thompson, had sought to reclaim the surviving animals in late October. But the Ohio Department of Agriculture ordered that they be kept in quarantine. Ohio law allows the state veterinarian to quarantine animals while investigating reports of potentially dangerous diseases.

The observation period for whether the animals have rabies ends on Friday, said agriculture spokeswoman Erica Pitchford. She couldn’t say what would happen next to the animals.

The quarantine order does not expire then, Pitchford said, but the observation period is the remaining test of the quarantine order.

Officials said at the time of the order that they were concerned about reports that the animals lived in unsanitary conditions where they could be exposed to disease. The order prevents the zoo from releasing the animals until it’s clear they’re free of dangerous diseases.

The animals underwent physical exams, X-rays and blood testing in March, and the state veterinarian received and reviewed the results on Monday.

The agriculture department said in a statement that the review indicated that all five surviving animals are free of the dangerously contagious or infectious diseases for which they were tested. The department said the animals will remain under quarantine at the zoo for continued observation for signs of rabies, which the agency said could only be confirmed after an animal is dead.

“No determinations regarding the status of the quarantine will be made before the observation period has concluded,” the statement read.

Pitchford said the standard observation period for the animals is six months, which ends Friday.

Owner Terry Thompson freed bears, lions, endangered Bengal tigers and other animals on Oct. 18 before killing himself. Authorities were forced to kill 48 of the creatures as they moved into the community.

The release and killings focused attention on Ohio’s exotic pet restrictions, which are among the weakest in the nation.

The medical results come as Marian Thompson has demanded a hearing to appeal the quarantine order. She had sought medical testing to prove the animals don’t need to be quarantined.

Thompson appeared Monday at her scheduled appeal hearing in Reynoldsburg in suburban Columbus, but attorneys delayed testimony in the case until April 30.

She declined to speak to reporters after the brief morning hearing.

The widow’s lawyer said in an email Monday afternoon that the results substantiate what the widow as maintained since the quarantine was issued on Oct. 27.

Attorney Robert McClelland said the hearing was pushed back until next week to give all parties time to look over the evidence. He said the state could terminate the quarantine order prior to next Monday’s hearing. Otherwise, state officials will then have to prove the order should remain in place.

A state-appointed lawyer who would oversee the administrative appeal hearing has between 30 and 45 days to render a report about the quarantine order. Any final decision would be made by the state’s agriculture director. Thompson could also appeal that decision.
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Thompson could appeal that decision…Damn right she would if the animals are not returned!!! Frankly there was no reason for this quarantine…How many times to we read of animals seized from ‘horrid conditions’ put up for SALE ‘adoption’ and released rather quickly -WHAT TESTING?!? More like what BULLSHIT!!!

~ by topcatsroar on April 24, 2012.

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