Updated Thu, Oct 20, 2011 9:46 am
An Athens-area state legislator is planning to propose legislation that would ban private ownership of large, exotic animals in the wake of this week's events in Muskingum County.
92nd District Democrat Debbie Phillips says, "Although an owner's intentions to keep exotic animals may be good, unfortunately, most private citizens do not have the proper training or resources to take care of wild animals. Their properties often are not equipped to safely contain wild animals, which poses a danger to themselves as well as other community members."
The bill includes an emergency clause and closely mirrors the expired executive order issued by former Democratic Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
The bill would permit existing owners with federal licenses to keep their animals but requires that they register them with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife.
Owners would also be required to embed microchips in the animals so they can be tracked if there is an escape.
Phillips says Ohio is one of only a few states with little or no regulation over the private ownership of wild animals.
She also says Ohio has one of the highest incidences of injuries and deaths caused by exotic animals.