Companion exotic animal bill introduced in Ohio House

March 14, 2012

By Kathy Thompson, (Zanesville, Ohio) Times Recorder

COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Ohio state representative introduced a companion exotic animal bill Tuesday that will mirror the proposal already in front of an Ohio state Senate committee.

Last week, Ohio state Sen. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, introduced a bill that would immediately ban private ownership of exotics once the bill is passed and give those already owning exotics until Jan. 1, 2014 to comply with strict regulations.

Ohio state Rep. Brian Hill, R-Zanesville, said his bill is an exact replica of Balderson’s, and he wants the representatives to start working on their side of the House as soon as possible to move the bill through legislation and to passage.

“This bill is a compromise that will protect the public and use common sense in regulations for those who already own exotics,” Hill said. “In a perfect world, the House and Senate could vote at the same time, making the process to get the bill passed much quicker.”

Balderson has been working to get his bill passed since Ohio Gov. John Kasich demanded a task force present a bill after the release of 56 exotic animals in Zanesville, Ohio, in October.

The Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office had to destroy almost all of the animals released by Terry Thompsonbefore he killed himself Oct. 18. Six animals were taken to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, where they are under quarantine. A spotted leopard had to be euthanized after a door fell on his neck.

Balderson said the intent of the bill is to “accurately navigate the fine line between public safety, animal welfare and personal property.”

The bill creates three levels of standards for animal ownership:

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