SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Jim Waugh found George in a Dayton bar where patrons "were giving him beer and everything else."
He took him home, cleaned him up, gave him a decent meal and made a home for George, a rhesus monkey, on the 100-acre farm that Waugh and his wife, Lucille, have in Clark County.
Also on the farm are an ostrich, four deer, seven white fantail pigeons, two golden rooster pheasants, a silver rooster pheasant, assorted other birds and fowl, some wild sheep, a Brahman cow, a peacock, a buffalo, two horses and a timber wolf that Waugh says has "a little dog in him."
Waugh sold his bear and his lion last fall because their daily diet of about 30 pounds of meat apiece cost too much.
Waugh has lived at the farm for 26 years and earns his living raising feeder cattle and hogs for commercial purposes.
The other animals are his pets, his friends, his pleasure, and none of them are for sale. But he can't recall what got him started collecting exotic wildlife.
"I've always loved horses," he said. "I grew up in the country--this is all I know."
Waugh picks up animals at many places, but most come from animal auctions at Royal City, Ind. That's where he found Heathcliff, the six-foot female ostrich, about a year ago. He says ostriches do well in this climate and that Heathcliff usually prefers living outdoors, huddling against a fence in the coldest weather.
George is Waugh's favorite. He rides in the truck cab with Waugh when the farmer goes on cattle-buying trips. He has a private, heated room and gets special food. Waugh says George's favorite meal is spaghetti, a raw potato, a pear and a slice of pumpkin pie.
Waugh not only cares for the animals, he cares about them. Every hunting season causes him concern.
"I'd just hate to see people shoot them," he said. "I'm against hunting. The same people who yell about them being locked up would be the first ones to kill them if they were loose. It's a shame someone took them out of the jungle, but you couldn't put them back--they couldn't survive. That wolf would come to your house to get fed--he doesn't know how to hunt for food.
"I think these birds are beautiful. Here, they can get their bellies full and not worry about getting shot or hit by a car."