at Tue Nov 1 10:18:18 2011 [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by EricWI ]
Kasich barks; panel acts, will propose exotic-animal ban
A stern call from Gov. John Kasich prodded a committee to reach consensus yesterday on a proposed statewide ban on new private ownership of big cats, bears, monkeys and other exotic animals.
Meeting in private at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the committee of representatives from government and animal interest groups got a high-test jolt from Kasich in a midafternoon conference call.
Laura Jones, spokeswoman for the state Department of Natural Resources, later said the purpose of the governor's call was to "encourage them to wrap up quickly, to stay on track and get this wrapped up."
But a source described Kasich's call somewhat differently, saying the governor "read the riot act" to the committee.
Kasich is unhappy that Ohio has been placed in the national spotlight in a negative way in the two weeks since dozens of wild, exotic animals were shot and killed after they were released by owner Terry W. Thompson of Zanesville. Thompson then committed suicide.
Kasich told the committee that he wanted it to stop "nit-picking" and to quickly finalize a recommendation for the strongest law in the nation, the source said.
Though there was no actual vote, the consensus of the committee at the conclusion of the five-hour meeting was to ban new private ownership of big cats, bears, wolves, primates and venomous snakes.
Current owners, however, would be allowed to keep their animals.
The measure eventually is expected to be introduced in the General Assembly, perhaps by state Sen. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, among others.
A previous draft of the proposal would require owners of exotic animals to carry at least $250,000 in liability insurance and to implant electronic devices under the animals' skin so they could be tracked if they escape.
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