CLEVELAND — Jungle Terry Sullivan of Ashtabula handles exotic animals every day.
But he’s concerned, after an Ohio Senator announced plans to introduce legislation to ban the purchase and ownership of exotic animals in the state of Ohio.
It’s been 4 months since dozens of lions, and tigers, and bears were released into the wild in Zanesville after their owner committed suicide.
To date, Ohio has no restrictions on the ownership of dangerous, wild animals.
“I think it was a long time coming. But I think, here we go, they are going to go overboard. They are going to take it too far. We’re not even going to be allowed to have gerbils by the time this thing is done,” said Jungle Terry.
So, what is dangerous?
According to the proposed legislation, lions, tigers, bears and other large animals.
It would also include reptiles like komodo dragons and crocodiles.
“I’ll probably be grandfathered in. But what I think they are going to do, is say if your snake dies, you cant get another snake. If your alligator dies, you can’t get another alligator. Snakes that breed, stop them from breeding. I don’t think it’s fair,” said Jungle Terry.
The ban is being proposed by Senator Troy Balderson of District 20, which includes Zanesville.
“In recognizing this dangerous hole in our regulatory system, it is absolutely imperative that we develop legislation that would carefully regulate the ownership of these animals,” said Senator Balderson, in a news release.
Animal rights activists in Cleveland applaud the proposal.
According to the Cleveland APL, wild animals should not be owned privately.
“There should not be tigers in the suburbs of Cleveland! This is not only for public safety, but also these animals are difficult to care for, expensive to care for,” said Sharon Harvey, CEO of the APL.
At this point, the ban would not apply to zoos, research facilities, circuses, private shelters and sanctuaries.
“We don’t have the resources to handle them. The zoos can’t take them. It’s very much a trickle down and the animals suffer,” added Harvey.
If the legislation passes, owners would have 60 days to register their animals.
Then, they would have until Jan. 1, 2014 to comply with the law.