In a teleconference Monday afternoon with news reporters the Ohio Department of Natural Resources keyed in on the issue related to the sale and ownership of dangerous and exotic animals in the state.
Ohio has long held a reputation for loose laws dealing with the sale of such critters as lions, tigers, poisonous snakes, and other exotic and dangerous animals.
This has led to sharp remarks from animal rights groups that have threatened to place on the ballot an iniative that would ban such businesses and ownership.
Under the Strickland Administration an effort was made through an executive order to get a handle on the issue but the new Kasich Administration believes this order doesn't have the legal muscle to get the job done.
Further, the new ODNR team believes, a different route needs to be taken, including creating a task force to study the issue and which would make recommendations. This group would include various so-called "stake holders." Among them would be dealers in exotic and dangerous animals, animal rights groups, representatives from the natural resources and agricultural communities and others.
Here is the text of the Department's take on the subject and what the state wants to do:
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced today that it will seek input from key stakeholders across the state to help develop policies and procedures regarding the ownership and sale of dangerous wild animals in the state of Ohio.
ODNR is starting its stakeholder outreach at the request of Governor John R. Kasich who supports the regulation of dangerous wild animals to ensure the public’s safety and animals’ humane treatment. He also believes any new regulations should be developed in a transparent way with input from the public and those who have interests at stake.
The Kasich administration is initiating this process because the previous administration’s Executive Order 2010-17S and Emergency Administrative rule 1501:31-19-5, banning the "possession, sale, and transfer" of dangerous wild animals, expires on April 6. Concerns were raised with the rule’s short-term and long-term funding, legal authority, safety, and the overall feasibility of being able to efficiently and effectively enforce such a ban.
ODNR will begin accepting public comments immediately at www.ohiodnr.com/tabid/23166/Default.aspx as well as meeting with key stakeholders.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn