Ohio Senate OKs bill to regulate exotic animals

State Senate passes exotic animal ban

Six months after authorities were forced to kill 48 exotic animals after their release in Zanesville, the state Senate has passed a bill to ban Ohioans from acquiring new exotic animals. The measure would also regulate current owners of wild creatures.

The bill cleared the chamber by a 30-1 vote Wednesday. Governor John Kasich, The Columbus Zoo, and The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation support the bill. It will now head to the House for its consideration.

If passed, the new legislation would allow current owners to keep their pets by obtaining a new state-issue permit by 2014 and meeting other strict conditions. In addition, owners would have to pass a background check, post warning signs and obtain liability insurance or surety bonds.

Under the measure, permit fees for lions, tigers and other dangerous animals would begin at $500. Insurance could cost as much as $1 million, depending on the amount of animals.

Facilities accredited by some national zoo groups would be exempt from the bill, along with sanctuaries and research institutions.

The measure follows the October release of dozens of exotic animals by their suicidal owner, Terry Thompson, in Zanesville. Authorities were forced to kill 48 animals. 6 animals were taken to the Columbus Zoo.