at Mon Jan 2 10:30:04 2012 [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by EricWI ]
Ohio lawmakers' to-do list includes rules on exotic animals, spurring natural gas industry
Cracking down on the ownership of exotic animals and spurring development of the state's oil and natural gas industry are expected to be among the top issues before the Legislature in 2012.
Ohio has some of the nation's weakest restrictions on exotic pets. And efforts to strengthen the state's law took on new urgency in October when police were forced to kill 48 wild animals, including endangered Bengal tigers, after their owner freed them from his Zanesville farm and then committed suicide.
Gov. John Kasich, a first-term Republican, has said he wants regulations in place quickly.
A study committee and state agencies have proposed a framework for new regulations that would ban casual ownership of bears, lions, monkeys, venomous snakes and other wildlife. Zoo, circuses and research facilities would be exempt.
The legislative framework suggests the ban start on Jan. 1, 2014. Owners would have to meet new temporary safety standards before then and register their animals with the state within 60 days of the law's effective date.
Ohio lawmakers will no doubt want to leave their own mark on the any new restrictions.
State Sen. Troy Balderson, a Zanesville native, has said he intends to pursue legislation on exotic animals, though he told Ohio Public Radio in an interview in November that a complete ban could keep some of the best private owners from having wildlife.
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