Athens County Exotic Animal Owner Speaks About Tougher Regulations

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An Athens County veterinarian who is also an endangered tiger owner is speaking out about the newly signed measures to crack down on private ownership of exotic animals.

Retired Veterinarian Doctor Jim Galvin came to New Marshfield in Athens County from Toledo to pursue his dream of creating a preserve for exotic cats.

"I've been told that there's 10 cats waiting for me already and this was before Zanesville, and I've been told there's three waiting for me in Michigan so the demand is there. The need is there," says Galvin.

Last week in Muskingum County, a man with more than 50 exotic animals let them loose and law enforcement officers say they had no choice but to kill them.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a republican, decided it was time sign an executive order to tame exotic animal ownership laws.

Galvin says strict regulations are needed but responsible owners should not be punished in the process.

"I think its gonna have to be a public private partnership between contentious owners, zoos and sanctuaries like myself to protect 45,600 of these tigers so they don't go extinct. So, no I'm not for an all-out ban. Let's regulate the hell out of the bad owners and get them out of business," says Galvin.

Galvin has kept his two cats in smaller pens for about a year now, but he hopes to move them to a larger pen he built by next week.

He says he modeled his 40 by 80 foot pen after another sanctuary that's been in operation for more than 30 years and has more than 250 cats.

"My pen will be designed such that anyone going in or out would have to go through a series of three gates, each with two locks on it, and each lock would have a different key and I will be the only one with all the keys," says Galvin.

Galvin says he's not worried about his cats being taken away if a ban is signed into law because he believes responsible exotic animal owners will be protected.