Zanesville Senator Proposing New Exotic Animal Legislation

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State Senator Troy Balderson of Zanesville is proposing legislation that would allow owners of lions, bears, gorillas and other exotic animals to keep the pets if they meet new strict requirements.

But Balderson – a Republican – wants to outlaw any new purchases of such animals.

He plans to introduce the bill tomorrow and hearings are planned this week.

Tom Niehaus is the President of the Ohio Senate.

He says there had been talk of forcing owners to get rid of exotic animals they already own but there were concerns that would infringe on owners  rights.

"We're looking at those constitutional issues and there's a question in the (Republican) caucus whether to support a ban," he says.  TThe question of what you do with people who have animals.  What do you do with them?  It's taking time to work through the legal aspects.  We will have vigorous debate in both the Senate and House."

Niehaus spoke at a recent forum in Columbus.

Under Balderson's bill, zoo, circuses and research facilities would be exempt from the ban.

Efforts to strengthen the state's law took on new urgency in October.

That's when authorities were forced to kill 48 wild animals after their owner freed them from his farm near Zanesville and then committed suicide.