State Representative Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) today introduced legislation at the Ohio House of Representatives to regulate the ownership of certain wild and dangerous animals in Ohio.

The bill would ban ownership of large carnivores and reptiles such as lions, tigers, elephants, komodo dragons and crocodiles starting January 1, 2014. The bill also has provisions regarding restricted primates and restricted snakes.

“It became all the more evident from the recent incident with exotic animals in Zanesville, that something had to be done,” Representative Hill said. “Senator Balderson and I have worked together and agree with the direction of this legislation and have the shared goal of protecting Ohioans from such a tragic event occurring again. Little to no regulation for those who own these kinds of dangerous and wild animals is unacceptable. This bill is a common-sense fix that will ensure the safety of both the public, as well as the animals.”

Ohio currently has no regulations pertaining to the ownership of exotic animals, although the United States Department of Agriculture issues licenses to those wishing to breed or exhibit such animals. If that license is revoked, the owner likely reverts to being a private owner with no further consequences. This means that someone who owns one of the animals as a pet is not subject to any specific regulation at the state or federal level.

The new legislation sponsored by Representative Hill is companion legislation to Senate Bill 310, which Senator Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) recently introduced. It is awaiting a bill number.


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