Ohio to Push New Exotic Animal Ban

The Ohio legislature is currently on the verge of passing tougher regulations on the ownership of exotic animals and pets. The move is partly due to the animal rampage that occurred at an Ohio farm last year, and the state’s return of several exotic animals to the farm in question.

Last October, the owner of Zainesville, Ohio’s Muskingum County Animal Farm, Terry Thompson, set 56 of his animals free before committing suicide. Thompson left no note and officials are still at a loss to explain his motives. Of the 56 animals, 48 were eventually put down by police, with the remaining animals, those captured by the police and those remaining at the farm, sent to the Cincinnati Zoo for medical treatment.

After veterinary officials checked the animals, the state Department of Agriculture had no choice but to return them to Terry Thompson’s daughter, the current owner of the Zainesville farm.

In the wake of the public uproar caused by returning several dangerous animals to the very farm where they were deliberately released a year ago, the state legislature has moved to regulate the sale and ownership of exotic animals. Last week, a bill passed both houses that would immediately ban the sale of dangerous exotic animals and require the current owners of exotic animals to apply for state licenses. New state-issued permits would require government inspection of facilities to determine the safety of the animals and the security of their habitat.

The bill would also mandate background checks in the hopes of preventing unstable individuals from owning potentially dangerous species.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer