Exotic Animal Bill Heads For House Vote

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A bill regulating exotic animal ownership heads to the Ohio House next after clearing a committee late Wednesday.

The committee members approved the bill in a 17-4 vote after making several changes.

The Senate passed the bill last month.

State Representative Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) says that only people who are trained and have the necessary resources should be caring for these animals.

"I think the end goal needs to be that these animals are not pets, that there shouldn't be private individual ownership of lions and tigers, just large dangerous exotic animals. That the people who have the training and the resources, you know zoos, people who are involved in a bona-fide species preservation program are the folks who can appropriately care for theses animals and it shouldn't be a casual situation," said Phillips.

Charles Richter, Phillips' November Republican opponent, says that a complete ban would be going too far.

"I do know that I would say 100 percent ban would probably be going a little far cause there are people out here, I mean The Wilds is an example, I know the zoo is involved with that. But there are some people who are doing great work with endangered species who have the facilities and the background to work with zoos to make sure we keep a cross bred of animals," said Richter.

The bill states the authority to expand the list of restricted species goes to the Legislature instead of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Any additional changes must be approved by the Senate before the measure can be sent to the governor.