Ohio Senate OKs bill to regulate exotics - FaunaClassifieds
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General Legislative Discussions Any general discussion concerning legislative issues or events. Not necessarily specific to a particular region, or even a type of animal group.

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Old 04-26-2012, 11:38 AM   #1
Ohio Senate OKs bill to regulate exotics

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) The state Senate passed a bill Wednesday to ban new ownership of monkeys, lions and other exotic animals, an issue in the legislature since authorities months ago were forced to kill dozens of wild creatures let loose by a suicidal owner in eastern Ohio.

Senators passed the measure on a 30-1 vote. It now goes to the House for consideration. Gov. John Kasich, the Columbus Zoo, and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation support the measure.

The bill would ban new ownership of dangerous exotic animals but allow current owners to keep their animals by obtaining a new state-issued permit by 2014 and meeting other strict conditions. Facilities accredited by some national zoo groups would be exempt from the bill, along with sanctuaries and research institutions.

Ohio has some of the nation's weakest restrictions on exotic pets. Efforts to strengthen the regulations took on new urgency in October after Terry Thompson released 56 animals including black bears, mountain lions and Bengal tigers from his eastern Ohio farm in Zanesville before he committed suicide. Authorities killed 48 of the animals as a public safety measure.

"This terrible incident brought to light this fact: Ohio has no laws to govern ownership of such animals," said Sen. Troy Balderson, a Republican from Zanesville who sponsored the bill.

Despite hours of discussion in committee, there was no debate on the Senate floor only statements urging support of the measure from Balderson and from the ranking Democrat on the Senate's agriculture panel.

Sen. Kris Jordan, a Powell Republican, said he voted against the measure because he believed the bill went too far and punished responsible animal owners for Thompson's actions.

But the proposal is not as strict as a ban suggested last year by a state study committee that Kasich convened. And Balderson said his bill would be sufficient to ensure animal owners keep their animals in check.

Balderson said Ohio does have responsible animal owners who should be able to keep their wildlife.

"We have to protect those people," Balderson told reporters after a Senate committee Wednesday passed the bill. "Let them take care of those animals. Because we have nowhere to put them, we have no way to pay for them."

Under the measure, permit fees for lions, tigers and other dangerous animals would begin at $500. Insurance policies for dangerous animals could reach as high as $1 million, depending on the number of animals. Owners would be required to pass a background check and show inspectors that they adhere to care standards and have taken safety measures such as fencing the property.

Testimony on the proposal wrapped up Tuesday evening after more than 30 opponents, including many animal owners, lined up to speak against the bill.

Balderson said lawmakers made a number of changes to the bill based on concerns from owners and other opponents.

For instance, owners could obtain surety bonds in lieu of liability insurance to give them more options. Another revision would allow the department director to issue temporary waivers to owners who are trying to get accreditation to obtain a permit.

Under additional changes, the bill would exempt service monkeys that help the disabled and constricting snakes that are less than 12 feet long. It would decrease requirements on warning signs around an owner's property and exempt animals from required microchip implantation if it would endanger their health.

Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said the organization supported the measure, but was concerned with amendments that eased certain snake restrictions and an exemption for certain facilities associated with the Zoological Association of America.

Balderson said getting the permits and regulation program under way would cost the Department of Agriculture about $800,000. State officials aren't sure how many wild animals the bill would affect.

"That's part of the problem we don't know," said Sen. Cliff Hite, a Findlay Republican and the Senate agriculture committee's chairman.
//www.necn.com/04/25/12/Ohio-Senate-OKs-bill-to-regulate-exotic-/landing.html?&apID=06facf84bf8a4067ad58caa1d2eeb97 8
Old 04-26-2012, 12:44 PM   #2
What is the impact on our 4 legged reptile friends?
Old 04-26-2012, 02:07 PM   #3
Wayne Pacelle really seems to hate snakes. Most fears come from ignorance, but his seem to be a lot deeper than that. He spearheads a misinformation campaign against them even though he knows all the real facts and statistics.
Old 04-27-2012, 04:26 PM   #4
This is pitiful. I know people here only care about reptiles, but exotic animal owners deserve their rights just like you.

Old 04-28-2012, 11:26 AM   #5
Originally Posted by millipede View Post
This is pitiful. I know people here only care about reptiles, but exotic animal owners deserve their rights just like you.

Yes everybody does deserve their rights to keep anything they want as long as it presents no danger to the public. On the other hand, USARK came about because of the attacks on reptile owners rights. We (I say we as I believe myself a member of USARK) do not collect donations for the purpose of fighting for all exotic animal owners rights. USARK clearly states, unlike the HSUS, the funds it collects are for protecting reptile keepers rights. USARK quite simply is not funded well enough to fight the kind of war against the special interest lobby groups like HSUS to protect all exotics.

I do believe most reptile owners, myself included, would be more than willing to show up and fight most any kind of exotic animal ban. USARK and its executives on the other hand can not spend funds fighting things that are not part of its charter without risk of alienating donors. If USARK spends funds fighting a big cat bill in one state and has no funds available to fight a reptile ban in another state what does that look like to reptile owners that donated? As it is USARK does not have all the funds it needs to fight in every state and depends heavily on grass roots movements in those states to take up its banner.

In politics money talks, unfortunately USARK is being out spent on almost every front!
Old 04-28-2012, 11:14 PM   #6
I wasn't referring to USARK, I was referring to reptile owners and their attitude toward owners of exotics. I rarely hear support from them, and sometimes they flat out condemn ownership of certain animals.
Old 04-28-2012, 11:25 PM   #7
I'm not against exotic pet ownership, but I believe the dangers that snakes pose has been greatly exaggerated. They need less precautions than a lion or bear. As long as the animal can be cared for properly then I see no issue with owning anything. I also believe that an animal owner shoul be held responsible if something bad happens due to negligence.
Old 04-29-2012, 12:07 AM   #8
Search for the thread "primate haters" and observe the reaction there, that's what I'm talking about.
Old 04-29-2012, 11:13 AM   #9
I agree somewhat with Melissa. I've been very distraught at the sight of so many reptile owners either willing to throw other exotic owners under the bus, or outright condemning big cat/primate/etc. people. I'm not talking about USARK specifically. I realize that organization is specifically for reptile owners' rights. However, I've seen this behavior here, on USARKs facebook page, on other facebook pages, other forums, etc. It often seems like as long as pythons/venomous/etc. are removed from legislation, then a lot of reptile folk are okay with supporting such legislation - even though we ALL should know by now that exemptions rarely last, things are added, modified, etc. That's how "they" get us, by throwing certain sectors bread crumbs in hopes to garner support, then they screw those folks over later. And what about those of us who are both reptile AND mammal keepers? What do we do? Where do we fall?

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