Governor Kasich Applauds New Exotic Animal Law

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COLUMBUS — Governor John Kasich approves of the new exotic animal law passed 87 – 9 in the Ohio Senate Tuesday.

The new legislation tightens exotic animal ownership regulations, effectively banning new ownership of the animals while allowing current owners to keep their animals. Current owners are now required to obtain an exotic animal ownership license by 2014 and adhere to new guidelines. Some institutions will not have to adhere to the new bill, such as zoos, certain animal sanctuaries and research facilities.

The governor released this statement after the final passage of Senate Bill 310:

“Six months ago the world’s spotlight shone on Muskingum County for tragic reasons.  Though the loss of animal life was great, fortunately the public and law enforcement officers who protected them were safe.  Next time we might not be so lucky, however, which is why I committed to doing everything we can to prevent a ‘next time.’ With Sen. Balderson’s leadership we’re erecting sensible safeguards that help protect the public from dangerous wild animals and help ensure animals are treated humanely.  I appreciate the efforts of Chairman Hall and Rep. Hill in the House and the strong bipartisan support this bill received in both chambers.  I’m proud to be signing this bill into law.”

The new guidelines come after Terry Thompson of Zanesville, Ohio released 50 exotic animals–including tigers, bears, lions, wolves and monkeys–before taking his own life in October 2011. Authorities killed most of those animals to protect the public.

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