A series of frantic phone calls started to come in to the Zanesville, Ohio Police Department just after 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“Bears, lions, and wolves running loose.... may be coming into city,” the service report of the first call read. “Seen a large brown animal walking... knows it was not a dog or cat,” went another call.
The calls got increasingly more frightening, as Zanesville residents reported seeing exotic beasts in their backyards, cemetery, and school. One caller saw two men dressed in camouflage driving with a bear carcass in the bed of their truck.
The animals that residents reported were among more than 50 exotic beasts that escaped from a wild-animal park Tuesday after the owner threw their cages open and committed suicide. The escapees included cougars, lions, camels, tigers, and grizzly bears.
Below, read the call for service records of homeowners who spotted the beasts and called the police, obtained by the Washington Post from the Zanesville police department.
Call 1, Oct. 18, 6:12 p.m.:
Bears, lions, and wolves running loose, maybe coming into city on Ridge Ave. from Trout-Sheriff’s office.
Call 2, 10:17 p.m.:
There is a lion on the Stone St. side of the fence line.
Call 3, 10:22 p.m.:
She seen a large animal go into the cemetery.
Call 4, 10:35 p.m.:
Lt. Shaw: Checking area for wide animals. There was a spotting of a bear about three hours before everything happened. Will be checking around railroad tracks
Call 5, 10:35 p.m.:
Bear in the open field headed towards the hospital.
Call 6, 10:44 p.m.:
About five minutes ago there was some type of large animal in the alley behind her house. It had yellow eyes.
Call 7, 11:05 p.m.:
He just seen a large brown animal walking down the back of his residence. He knows it was not a dog or cat.
Call 8, 11:26 p.m.:
Back of her house saw... big shadow and something ran up to the woods.
Call 9, Oct. 19, 12:22 a.m.:
Says he saw a large bear in the area. Near Shrivers... unclear which way it was headed... it was in the field where the old school used to be... 3 minutes ago.
Call 10, 12:23 a.m.:
He just heard a lion roar in the woods.
Call 11, 2:37 a.m.:
Alley area heard loud growling, asked we check the area.
Call 12, 10:45 a.m.:
His 19-year-old sister saw a large white cat cut through the yards heading to Chaps Run Park, larger than a German Shepherd.
Call 13, 12:11 p.m.:
Male caller saw a beat-up truck with a bear carcass in the bed — two males in camo. The county wasn’t aware of citizens authorized to pick up the carcasses.
Zanesville Sheriff deputies have now shot 48 of the escaped animals, and caught six alive. Two animals — a wolf and a monkey — remain at large.