Ohio’s Exotic Animal Law Survives Federal Lawsuit

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A federal appeals court has upheld Ohio's new restrictions on exotic animals, rejecting a challenge by owners who claimed the law is too stringent and forces them to join in associations with which they disagree.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled against the seven owners on Tuesday. The three-judge panel said the owners' constitutional claims lacked merit.

Their lawsuit also challenged a requirement that animals be implanted with a microchip to allow the creatures to be identified if they get lost or escape.

Ohio defended the law as addressing animal welfare, public health and public safety concerns associated with private ownership of dangerous wild animals.

The state imposed tougher restrictions after a suicidal owner in 2011 released dozens of creatures from his farm in Zanesville.