Sheriff Matt Lutz said he personally gave the order to shoot the escaped animals, and after a night of big game hunting he says they have now accounted for all but three animals.
The animals’ owner, Terry Thompson, was found dead at the Muskingum County Animal Farm zoo, and police believe he killed himself.
Mr Lutz said a preliminary investigation suggested Mr Thompson left fences open at the farm.
After the night of carnage, Mr Lutz said a mountain lion, a grizzly bear and a monkey were still unaccounted for as of Wednesday morning. Go the monkey!!
Officials said the “volatile situation” of animals escaping from the Muskingum County Animal Farm and the approach of darkness on Tuesday night had prompted the shoot-to-kill order.
Staff from the nearby Columbus Zoo hoped to tranquilise the remaining animals.
US nature TV host Jack Hanna, a former director of Columbus Zoo, in the nearby Ohio state capital, said tranquilising animals in the dark was incredibly dangerous, and told reporters that “the sheriff did the right thing”.
“You cannot tranquilise an animal like this, a bear or a leopard or a tiger [at night],” Mr Hanna told ABC before the press conference.
“If you do that, the animal gets very excited, it goes and hides, and then we have [police officers] in danger of losing their life, and other people.”
Dead animals were scattered around Zanesville on Wednesday morning.
Overnight, police have urged people in Zanesville to stay indoors and flashing signs along nearby highways told motorists: “Caution exotic animals” and “Stay in vehicle”.
Sheriff Lutz said his office began getting phone calls at about 17:30 local time on Tuesday, saying animals were loose on a road just west of the town.
Four armed deputies were dispatched to the zoo, where they found Mr Thompson’s body and the animal cages open. Several aggressive animals found near the body were shot, Mr Lutz said.
Newswarped wonders if the same tactic could be used on Capitol Hill. If the exotic senators, congressmen and lobbyist animals were let out of their enclosures then dudes like Sheriff Lutz could give the shoot to kill order before they start harassing ordinary folk and making promises they can’t keep.