Several lions, tigers and bears remain loose in a small Ohio town, after escaping from a wild animal preserve Tuesday.
Police officers armed with assault rifles continue to patrol a rural area near Zanesville, Ohio. Although dozens of the escaped animals were shot and killed by police, so far, no injuries have been reported.
Schools near the small town were closed on Wednesday. Authorities believe around 20 exotic animals may still be in the area and they're concerned that students standing at bus stops might become easy prey.
"There were grizzly bears and black bears. There were cheetahs. There were lions and there were tigers," explained Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz.
A total of 48 exotic animals, many of them man-eaters, escaped from a farm in Zanesville, located about 55 miles east of Columbus.
Late Tuesday, local law enforcement officials found the farm owner dead and his fences open. The authorities say he had been cited in the past for animal abuse.
But this time, his private collection of wildlife turned into a very public hazard.
"We'd hear weird noises every once and a while. We just try to figure out what it was. It's not a domestic animal or anything like that," said one local resident.
The authorities hope to either capture or kill the remaining 20-some animals still at large.
"It's scary. You don't know where they're at. And if the cops can't catch them, they are going to be running wild, crazy," said another resident.
Ohio has some of the nation's weakest restrictions on exotic animals and the highest number of injuries and deaths caused by them.