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The Ohio Exotic Pet Ban | What Animals Are Now Illegal as Pets ?
The Zanesville, Ohio massacre, which ended with the deaths of 18 tigers, 17 lions, 6 black bears, 2 grizzly bears, 3 mountain lions, 2 wolves, and a baboon after they were set free by their suicidal owner Terry Thompson, sent legislators in a frenzy to amend previous bills that were said to be far too lenient on what exotic pets could be legally owned in Ohio. Prior to the incident, Governor Kasich's task force, which was composed of organizations like the HSUS and the American Zoological Association, originally were examining the state's lack of regulations when the Zanesville incident propelled the issue into the spotlight and largely contributed to the support of the finished bill.
The new Dangerous Wild Animal Bill had wide spread approval and was passed by the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee in a 87-9 vote (the previous Senate Sub-Bill 310 was approved by the committee and was sent to the Senate floor for a vote, passing the Ohio Senate 30-1). Governor Kasich is expected to sign SB 310's exotic pet ban into a law soon.
If you live in the state of Ohio and possess a 'restricted species', you can acquire a permit for the animal(s) by 2014, but there's a catch; the owner must meet strict new regulations including registration, expensive liability insurance coverage (a 1 million dollar insurance policy is required of those that possess a restricted species for educational purposes) and facility standards. The registered animal must be micro-chipped. If owners cannot meet these new standards, they will have to find new homes for their pets or turn them into the state where they will likely be euthanized. No new animals may be purchased once the ban takes affect on January 1, 2014.
The following animals are banned as 'pets' with the exception of zoos and sanctuaries:
(I have bolded animals that obviously pose little or no danger to the public, and/or are popularly kept)
(2) Gray wolves, excluding hybrids
(6) Leopards, including clouded leopards, Sunda clouded
leopards, and snow leopards
(7) All of the following, including hybrids with domestic
cats unless otherwise specified
(b) Lynxes, including Canadian lynxes, Eurasian lynxes, and
(c) Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions
(e) Servals, excluding hybrids with domestic cats commonly
known as savannah cats.
- How to Care for a Pet Tiger
I often hear the phrase "backyard tiger" used negatively, and it is used to inspire legislators to ban exotic pets. Tigers and big cats clearly do not make suitable 'pets' for most people, but with this article, I hope to dispel the myth that it is i
(12) Cape buffaloes
(13) African wild dogs
(14) Komodo dragons
(17) Caimans, excluding dwarf caimans
(19) Nonhuman primates other than lemurs and the nonhuman
primates specified in division (C)(20) of this section
(20) All of the following nonhuman primates
(a) Golden lion, black-faced lion, golden-rumped lion,
cotton-top, emperor, saddlebacked, black-mantled, and Geoffroy's
(b) Southern and northern night monkeys
(c) Dusky titi and masked titi monkeys
(e) Goeldi's monkeys
(f) White-faced, black-bearded, white-nose bearded, and monk
(g) Bald and black uakaris
(h) Black-handed, white-bellied, brown-headed, and black
(i) Common woolly monkeys
(j) Red, black, and mantled howler monkeys.
Burmese Pythons are Popular
Snakes (legal only with a permit over the length of 12 feet after 2014)
(L) "Restricted snake" means any of the following:
(1) All of the following constricting snakes that are twelve
feet or longer:
(a) Green anacondas
(b) Yellow anacondas
(c) Reticulated pythons
(d) Indian pythons
(e) Burmese pythons
(f) North African rock pythons
(g) South African rock pythons
(h) Amethystine pythons
(2) Species of the following families
(3) Boomslang snakes
(4) Twig snakes.
(The threat of 'constricting snakes' is largely exaggerated)
Is This Bill Fair?
The strong support of this bill is the result of the actions of a single individual. In addition to any animals currently listed, additional animals can be added based on a decision made by the Director of ODA that only needs to be approved by the General Assembly.
It should be noted that most of the animals listed are rarely, or never kept as 'pets'. A few examples would be rhinos, elephants (outside of circuses), komodo dragons and hippopotamuses. The list includes many highly advanced 'pets' that should never be kept by the typical person (however, the few exceptions to this rule should be granted the opportunity to state their situation and privately own a 'restricted species' without being a zoo or so-called sanctuary).
However, the list includes a few species that clearly do not pose any kind of threat to 'public safety' such as the smaller cats and non-human primates. Also not given any consideration is the fact that domesticated animals could easily cause similar, or worse damage than these unfairly stigmatized animals. It is obvious that in time, more non-threatening species will make their way onto this list due to ignorance, and these bans will spread to other states that haven't enforced them already. The ban will inevitably affect smaller businesses such as those that present animals for educational purposes, and will force many owners to give up their animals.
Such inflexible bans on the rights of the population should be considered as a last option. Animal ownership is not being taken seriously as pertinent to the livelihoods of pet keepers by Ohio's legislators. Clearly this new law, having been provoked by a single incident caused by one irresponsible or mentally ill individual is not a valid reason to end lifestyles, businesses, and freedom of choice.