All 10 animals seized from the Tiger Ridge Exotics are in good health. That’s the word from State Veterinarian Dr. Ryan Powell who takes care of the animals on a daily basis at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.
The animals, which include six tigers, one liger, one black leopard and one bear are kept in a secured pull barn on the grounds of the Ohio Department of Agriculture just outside of Columbus.
Powell says he consults on a regular basis with the Columbus Zoo, about the care of the animals. “We check to see if they’re greeting us like they normally do, are they playing with their enrichment items,” says Powell.
The most recent controversy surrounds Leo the Lion who had to be euthanized after failing health left him unable to stand, walk or eat. “It was very difficult trying to find a fine line between are they suffering, are they in pain, is there quality of life still there,” says Powell.
Powell insists that Leo was doing reasonably well despite pre-existing health concerns before being put down. “He was eating he was drinking he was trying to get up, he was moving around and we had plenty of soft bedding for him and made sure he had sure footing.”
13abc asked why Kenny Hetrick wasn’t allowed to be with his animal and say goodbye before he was euthanized. Dr. Powell says that wasn’t his decision, there is a standard procedure and that everybody has to follow it. “I would assume it’s a case of security and logistics of getting people in there and we’re dealing with dangerous wild animals,” says Powell, “It was just a call the administration made, and I don’t have a good answer for you otherwise.”
The same goes for Hetricks inability to see his animals at all while the state hearings take place to find out if they’re even going to get them back. “We’re not dealing with dogs and cats, we’re dealing with tigers and lions and dangerous wild animals and you can’t have a hands on approach with these animals you have to maintain public safety and my safety and the safety of everybody in our group.
The Hetricks go back to Reynoldsburg on Monday to continue the state hearings on whether or not they’re allowed to get their animals back. 13abc will continue to follow this story and have the latest for you on 13abc.com and on the air. 13abc has made several requests to take video of the Hetricks animals at the Reynoldsburg facility. Those requests have all been denied, citing safety.