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Charges to be dropped in dead-lion theft case

COLUMBUS | A prosecutor says charges will be dropped against four Ohio men accused of trying to steal the carcass of a lion from an exotic-animal compound as long as they each complete 40 hours of community service.

The lion was among dozens of animals killed by police outside Zanesville last fall after their owner released them and committed suicide.

Muskingum County assistant prosecutor Maria Kalis said Thursday the case involved youthful high jinks and poor decision-making by men ranging in age from 19 to 21. She says authorities don’t want the men’s futures to be affected by bad decisions on one night.

The men were charged with theft.