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Oct 19, 2011 6:02 AM by Kate Richards

Wild animals on the loose in Ohio

ZANESVILLE, Ohio (AP) - Police armed with rifles are patrolling rural Zanesville where dozens of animals escaped from a wild-animal preserve and where the owner's body later was found.

Some school districts were expected to cancel classes Wednesday as the remaining bears, big cats and other beasts from the Muskingum County Animal Farm were hunted down.

Police started getting phone calls at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday that wild animals were loose just west of Zanesville.

Four sheriff's deputies with assault rifles in a pickup truck went to the animal farm, where they found the owner dead and all the animal cage doors open. The preserve had lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, giraffes, camels and bears.

There were 48 animals at the preserve in east-central Ohio and authorities say they killed up to 30 of them.

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