Published Fri, Oct 21, 2011 3:02 pm Dateline
Updated Fri, Oct 21, 2011 3:52 pm
Ohio's governor has signed an executive order dealing with the buckeye state's lack of regulation against the private ownership of exotic animals.
John Kasich signed the order in the wake of this week's incident in Muskingum County, where the owner of a private animal farm near Zanesville released 56 exotic animals and then killed himself.
"I'm very pleased to tell you today that we have some things that we believe we can do," says Kasich.
Kasich says since 1953, our humane societies at the county level have had the power to deal with people who commit cruelty to animals.
He says Ohio's Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Department of Natural Resources have the authority to identify and investigate locations where dangerous animals might be located.
Kasich says a task force has been developed to determine what kind of law should be placed on Ohio's books, but this executive order will deal with some of the issues in the meantime.
"When you see this kind of tragedy that happened in Muskingum County, you just can't look away from it," says Kasich.
The order also directs the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to bring the Kasich Administration a legislative framework by November 30.
Kasich says he wants to create legislation that protects God's creatures and the public.
He says the animals are "unbelievably beautiful, strong and potentially very dangerous."
"We will be looking at what authority we can bring in," says Kasich.
He says his administration is going to deal with this in a definitive way and it's not something that they will write on the "back of a napkin."
"If it's not anchored in the law, it has no force, it has no teeth," says Kasich.
Kasich also addressed criticism that his administration let former Governor Ted Strickland's executive order on exotic animals lapse.
"Governors can't just enact laws," says Kasich. "I really wish I could have the power to enact any law."
Jack Hanna's wife, Suzi, attended at the news conference in Hanna's place.
"Jack is in Texas...he had a commitment that was made a year ago," says Hanna.
"What Jack wanted me to tell you was that when he arrived on the scene, it is absolutely the worst, horrific animal site he's ever seen in his life." says Hanna.
But she says he was so grateful to Sheriff Lutz and all the authorities in Zanesville because the miracle in all of this was that no human life was taken by an animal.
Hanna read a statement from her husband.
It said that Jack Hanna, the Columbus Zoo and The Wilds are ready and willing to work with the state to protect the animals and the public.