Exotic Animal Ownership Law Now In Effect

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Ohio's exotic animal law takes effect today.

A Licking Co. cougar owner says she's had little success getting answers from the Ohio Department of Agriculture on what she needs to do to comply with the law.

Evelyn Shaw is frustrated because she doesn't know what she needs to do to comply with the exotic animal law.

“I feel that the government should have been having meetings, they should have been keeping us advised on what we needed to do, you know, communicating with us,” said Shaw.

A microchip is required for registration of the animals.

Shaw says she's called the state's Department of Agriculture to find out what type is required.

“We're still questioning: can they give us makes and models of those microchips so that we're able to obtain the proper chip?” she asked.

Tony Forshey is the state veterinarian at the Agriculture Department.

He says local veterinarians can advise owners on microchips. He says he believes owners are well-informed about the new guidelines.

“Well, I think they are from the registration standpoint, which is all they really need to know now,” says Forshey.

Shaw says she tried to obtain the registration form last week.

It wasn't made available until Tuesday, one day before the law goes into effect.

Forshey points out owners have until November 5 to register their animals.

“They essentially have, you know, a month and a half or two months to get that done, so there's plenty of time," says Forshey.

And plenty of time to take care of Shaw's other concerns: fencing and insurance.

Temporary caging standards are expected to be in place by the end of the year.

Insurance isn't required until 2014.

State officials are working on plans for a holding facility for confiscated exotic animals.

The Agriculture Department will ask for $3.5 million dollars at a meeting on Monday.

Michael Locklear is a fellow in Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.