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Schools closed and motorists were warned to stay in their vehicles as officers with assault rifles patrolled a rural area in eastern Ohio Wednesday, a day after police killed dozens of escaped animals from a wild-animal preserve, where the owner was found dead.

As authorities warned that more animals still were on the loose, three school districts in the region and some private and special schools canceled classes as the remaining bears, big cats and other beasts from the Muskingum County Animal Farm were hunted down.

Flashing signs along area highways told motorists, “Caution exotic animals” and “Stay in vehicle.”

Authorities wouldn’t say how the farm’s owner Terry Thompson died, but said it wasn’t suspicious. The animals’ cages had been opened and the farm’s fences had been left unsecured, police said.

Close to 30 of the 48 animals were shot and killed on Tuesday. Officials were pondering how to dispose of the remains.

“These are wild animals that you would see on TV in Africa,” Sheriff Matt Lutz said at a press conference. He told residents to stay indoors and sent updates to them via Twitter. There were no reports of injuries to the public.

The fences had been left unsecured at the animal farm in Zanesville, about 55 miles east of Columbus, and the animals’ cages were open, police said.

The preserve had lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, giraffes, camels and bears. Police said bears and wolves were among the escaped animals that were killed and there were multiple sightings of exotic animals along a nearby highway.

article courtesy of Newsnet5.com

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