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Old 12-27-2006, 06:16 AM   #1
Clay Davenport
Ohio lawmaker seeks regulation of dangerous wild, exotic animals

CINCINNATI - A state legislator hopes to help prevent attacks such as those against a suburban man strangled by his boa constrictor and a northeast Ohio woman mauled by a neighbor's bear with a law regulating possession of dangerous wild and exotic animals.

"I'm not trying to prohibit people from owning the animals or trying to put anyone out of business," said state Rep. George Distel, a Conneaut Democrat. "I just want to protect the public by ensuring that the people who possess these animals behave responsibly."

Distel introduced a bill this year in the General Assembly that would require people possessing dangerous wild or exotic animals to obtain a permit and also would establish safety requirements. He said legislators didn't have time to take it up in the last session, but he will reintroduce it in January.

Some of the proposed safety requirements call for perimeter fencing around the primary housing for such animals, annual state inspections of the property where they are kept and signs warning the public of their presence.

Rachel Supplee, 37, who was mauled by a neighbor's 500-pound bear in May, strongly supports the bill.

"I don't want what happened to me to happen to anyone else," said Supplee, who lives in Richmond Township in Ashtabula County.

Supplee said the bear, which had escaped from its cage, crashed through a door into her former home in Hartsgrove Township. It attacked Supplee and left her with a bruised lung, broken ribs and numerous bite wounds and cuts before she was able to escape with the help of her daughter. Supplee has had several surgeries and will need more.

"There's all kinds of laws in Ohio about dogs, but a bear can attack or even eat you and nothing is done about it," she said.

The county prosecutor who determined that no charges would be filed against the bear's owner criticized state lawmakers for failing to require perimeter fences around wildlife operations.

Bears are among the animals included in Distel's proposal. Some of the other animals include lions, tigers, cougars, certain venomous species of snakes and other snakes, including boa constrictors and pythons, that potentially could exceed 8 feet.

Earlier this month, Ted Dres, 48, of Symmes Township in suburban Cincinnati, died when his 13-foot boa constrictor wrapped itself around his neck.

"This is another tragic incident that could have been avoided," said Dean Vickers, state program coordinator in Ohio for the Humane Society of the United States. "Keeping wild animals in our communities, especially with no oversight, is dangerous for the public and the animals."

Vickers said that some Ohio cities have enacted bans or restrictions, but townships in rural areas don't have that ability.

"We urge Ohio to take action before the next person is killed or injured," Vickers said.

The Ohio Association of Animal Owners opposes Distel's bill, according to secretary-treasurer Polly Britton.

"Animals are personal property; and we oppose legislation that restricts the private ownership or use of animals, or that prohibits free trade of any animal provided it meets Ohio Department of Agriculture testing and import requirements," the group's official statement says.

At least 16 states prohibit the private possession of at least large cats, wolves, bears, dangerous reptiles and most primates, and 10 states have partial prohibitions, according to the Animal Protection Institute.

The Sacramento-based institute, which helps states draft exotic animal legislation, says 13 states now require licenses or permits for possessors of wild and exotic animals and others are considering bans or restrictions.

Although Ohio currently does not require permits for exotic animals, it does require them for possession of most wild animals native to Ohio, said Jim Quinlivan, an enforcement officer with the Ohio Division of Wildlife. The state doesn't include any specifications for those animals' housing.

The Humane Society and the Animal Protection Institute both endorse Distel's bill, but they would prefer that all states prohibit private ownership of dangerous wild and exotic animals.

"But bills like the Ohio one are a step in the right direction," said API attorney Nicole Paquette.

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Old 12-27-2006, 08:58 PM   #2
Originally Posted by Clay Davenport The Humane Society and the Animal Protection Institute both endorse Distel's bill, but they would prefer that all states prohibit private ownership of dangerous wild and exotic animals.
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And once they've gotten rid of our "dangerous" snakes they will be on to other "dangerous" animals... like dogs. There's more dog bites than snake attacks each year. Oh, and cats, too. They scratch, claw, bite and weave about our feet at the top of stairs.

They have to go before another person is injured!!

I hate crap like this. Such random BS... "let's do something to make it look like we're actually worth the money they are paying us."
Old 01-07-2007, 11:11 PM   #3
"There's all kinds of laws in Ohio about dogs, but a bear can attack or even eat you and nothing is done about it," she said.
Old 01-09-2007, 12:53 AM   #4
And their still calling it a Boa constrictor.

Burmese python...it's not that hard.

And how stupid would it be to have to put up a perimeter fence to protect your neighbor from your BCI or Iguana.
Old 01-09-2007, 04:40 AM   #5
It's NOT the animals!!! It's the irresponsible idiots with the animals that need regulation.
Old 01-09-2007, 10:36 AM   #6
Ohio does infact already have laws on dogs, some insurance companies wont even insure you if you have the dogs listed on the "bad dog" list. Dont think they arent working on the cats too. you know they eat birds and moles and other wildlife we must protect, yup cat leash laws coming to an area near you.
Old 01-10-2007, 11:54 AM   #7
http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/b...ID=126_HB_0643 this is the site

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