Ohio exotic animal owners await Kasich decision on ban

WOOSTER, Ohio — It could still be a couple weeks before Ohio’s new governor takes a close look at an emergency order signed by former Gov. Ted Strickland, banning ownership and sale of certain “dangerous wild animals.”

When he does, feedback from both sides will be abundant.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife plans to present its findings by early March. So far, the division has received about 40 e-mails and more than 90 comments to its website.

Of the e-mails, “more than half express an opposition to the rule,” said Heidi Hetzel-Evans, of ODNR’s media relations office in a statement. Of the electronic comments, “most are from Ohioans who own some of the listed species and oppose the rule.”

History

Strickland signed the order during his last days in office — the result of an agreement he helped broker in June with the Washington, D.C.-based animal rights organization Humane Society of The United States, and Ohio’s farm commodity leaders. The agreement was made to keep HSUS from pursuing a ballot initiative in the fall of 2010.

“This rule will help protect Ohioans from deaths and serious injuries caused by attacks from dangerous wild animals held in private ownership,” Strickland said in a statement when announcing the ban.

The ban prevents “new private ownership of wild animals that are dangerous to human health and safety, requires existing private owners of dangerous wild animals to register the animals with the state, and details the type of facilities that can own and rehabilitate dangerous wild animals.”

The ban is in effect for 90 days, and could be made permanent, if the Kasich administration believes it necessary. So far, the high volume of public feedback has postponed the filing of permanent rules, to allow for a thorough review.

“Because the rule was initiated by the last administration, this (Kasich) administration is committed to enable Ohioans to share their opinion on this issue,” Hetzel-Evans said. “The website remains up and comments are welcome.”

Owners react

Animal owners like Keith Campbell of Hillview Exotics in Frazeysburg, and Cyndi Huntsman of Stump Hill Farm in Massillon, have been vocal about the ban since its announcement.

Campbell said he’s frustrated that exotic animal owners were not represented when the livestock care agreement was made in June.

“The (exotic) animal industry never had representation,” he said, saying owners of exotics were told their industry was “illegitimate.”

Campbell and the Ohio Association of Animal Owners counter notions of illegitimacy with the economic impact of exotics in Ohio. Campbell said he’s been told the industry brings $12.5 billion to the state, and “that kind of makes us legitimate in my eyes,” Campbell said.

Injuries

The biggest supporter of the ban is HSUS, which has produced a fact sheet of issues related to ownership of dangerous wild animals in Ohio.

Highlighting the list was the mauling of bear caretaker Brent Kandra, 24, at a Lorain County residence in August.

Other incidents include bites from venomous snakes and certain kinds of monkeys.

Campbell said he doesn’t oppose regulation, and even certain types of bans, but would expect those in compliance to be exempted.

“If you meet all state and government requirements,” he said, “you should be exempted from this ban.”

Although there have been some issues with exotic animals in Ohio, Campbell said they’ve mostly been owner-handler related.

Huntsman said the risks of working with exotic animals are part of the job, just as there are risks with other jobs, including livestock farming.

“He (Kandra) worked there, it was nothing new to that man,” she said. “He knew what he was doing, he knew the risks and he chose to take those risks.”

Tough position

Huntsman owns many exotics, including camels, lions, tigers, bears, wolves, fox and coyote. She estimates 90 percent of her income comes from exotics, a serious problem now that she can’t buy or sell.

She said when she did sell a dangerous animal, it was always to another licensed U.S. Department of Agriculture facility. Others have come to her for animals, and she turned them away.

Stump Hill Farm keeps the popular Massillon Tiger mascot, which is exempted from the ban.

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

42 Comments

  1. I appreciate Chris Kick’s fair and balanced reporting of this issue. Farm and Dairy has done an outstanding job of researching and presenting the facts pertaining to this ban on commerce in Ohio. Exotic animal owners in Ohio have established a niche market that continues to thrive in spite of current economic conditions, and for the ex-Governor to arbitrarily shut down a large part of that industry by declaring an “emergency” where no emergency exists — obviously, he had an agenda, and it wasn’t to protect Ohioans. In fact, it appears suspiciously similar to that of HSUS, who’s been trying to shut down Ohio’s exotic animal industry for the past 20 years. They’ve not been able to do it legislatively, so they tried this back-door approach.

  2. Grace Sullivan says:

    Look at those animals in the photo – they don’t belong on concrete in a wire cage. It’s unnatural and cruel. I’d be sorry for anyone who is put out of business by the ban, but keeping dangerous exotic animals is wrong and needs to be stopped. Aside from the animal welfare issue, I don’t want these dangerous animals roaming into my back yard and hurting my family. The dangerous exotic animals need to be banned, and those that aren’t dangerous should be regulated. I fully support the executive order.

    • Amy says:

      Looking at the animals in the picture, I see grass and concrete, with the animals obviously choosing the concrete on their own. It is not unnatural or cruel to own animals and has been done throughout history. Ohio had cruelty, abuse and neglect laws to address true cruelty.

      Worrying about a captive exotic animal wandering into your yard is about as reasonable as worrying about an automobile crashing through your house. Statistics put it into perspective, not knee-jerk reactions.

    • EricWI says:

      You can contend that owning exotic animals is “wrong and needs to be stopped”, but besides your personal opinion (which you are of course entitled to), what actual facts can you cite to back this up with? If you feel that owning exotic animals is “wrong”, then it is your perogative, and yours only, to choose not to own such animals. But since when should legislating matters based solely on your personal morals be any basis for such legislative action?

      If you truly are so concerned with ‘dangerous animals” roaming your backyard, then perhaps you should look no further than what is likely commonplace in your neighbor’s residence: Fido and Fluffy. Did you know that in the last year alone, over a dozen dog bites and maulings (with some resulting in fatalities) took place? Or perhaps that Fluffy kills countless numbers of small mammals, songbirds, and other indigenous wildlife in her nightly furlows? But alas, humans are the most dangerous species of them all. Do you keep up with national Safety Council statstics? Perhaps you should, considering the rapists, shooters, and homicidal individuals which COULD be lurking in your neighborhood…

    • Autumn says:

      how is grass and concrete any different then the grass and rock that they would have in the wild? Unfortunately, most of these exotic creatures live in countries where there is very little protection. Hunters, poachers and illegal gaming are keeping these animals from thriving in their own habitats, and with out private husbandry; these animals would be endangered (most already are) or extinct. That picture also shows a fairly large enclosure which looks ten times larger then the facilities at most zoos.

  3. As an Ohioan and someone who cares about animals, I hope Kasich maintains the ban. Lions, bears, and tigers are wild animals that should not be kept in backyards as pets. Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and they still bite and present public safety threats. Why would anyone think a tiger, a truly wild animal, would not pose a community safety risk. Do we have to wait for another Ohioan to get killed to act? I fully support the executive order.

  4. sookie says:

    I totally support the ban on exotic animals. It’s a threat to humans and inhumane to the animals.

    • KeithC says:

      There is no emergency in Ohio or any other state. This is simply blown out of proportion by Animal Rights organizations that subscribe to the Animal Rights Agenda and that is NO ANIMAL OWNERSHIP.

      These animals are not wild that they were captured in their native area, they generations born in captivity. Most if not all of these animals would die without someone giving them food because that is what they know, someone provides them with food, water, shelter and good home. USDA Licensed facilities are regulated and inspected to ensure the animal’s health is maintained and it’s home will protect not only it but also the public.

      FACT: 4 deaths in Ohio’s history, each one Owner/Handler related – Source of information Humane Society of US.

      How many people died in Ohio alone last year do to Dog Attacks?

      • Jamie Beneke says:

        Cant say how many people have died from dogs. But in Preble County alone last year there was close to 300 reported dog bites…..

  5. Brian Wilson says:

    Exotic animals are not an “industry” as Polly put it. These are wild animals that should be left to roam in the outdoors, not locked up in a cage. I support the ban and I urge Gov. Kasich to do the same.

    • The ex-Governor himself stated to the Dayton Daily News in the fall of 2010 that the exotic animal industry generates 12.5 billion dollars a year. I don’t know where he got his figures, but if exotic animals generate even a few billion dollars, they certainly contribute to the economy. Under Ohio Revised Code, exotic animals are considered agriculture; agriculture is an industry, and so are exotic animals. These animals were never in the wild, so it is incorrect/uninformed to state that they should remain “in the wild”. Ohio’s exotic animals were born in captivity, have always been in captivity, and thrive in captivity. I know that it ticks some people off that exotic animal owners have the audacity to raise and sell these animals; many of the same people object to the raising, selling and eating of farm animals and the wearing of their (leather) hides. I’m all for eating and wearing whatever you want; just don’t let your personal opinion infringe on mine. If you don’t want to have exotic animals, don’t have them; but don’t infringe on my right to do so, any more than I infringe on your right to have a dog or a cat. Speaking of which, exotic animal owners keep their animals safely contained, which you can’t say for a lot of dog and cat owners.

  6. Jamie Beneke says:

    I do not support the ban. Our goverment does not have the resources or the education to enforce such a ban, with out taking money from more important state issues, education of our youth for one. For those of you who support it, how would you feel if some one comes to you tomorrow and tells you when your dog dies, you cant get another? This ban, was pushed by the HSUS, the created an exotic animal problem, do you thing they will stop with just exotics? Exotics is just easier for them to go after, people dont eat tigers, and lions, they are not a food source, so the public will turn a blind eye to what they are doing. We give HSUS exotics this year what are they going after next? Look at the bigger picture, its just not the current owners, its the people raise the feed for these animals. The people at the feed store that sells the feed. The people at the factories that sell to the feed store. It effects everyone, maybe not directly, but in one way or another. Does our state need to loose more jobs?

  7. KC says:

    Thank you, Chris, for writing an objective piece. All emotion and personal opinion aside, I think it only fair that those involved with exotics also have a say. I also believe that educating a public that has become so far removed from animal realities is paramount.

  8. Jeri Smith says:

    There is no good reason for human’s to own exotic animals. In most cases humans use these animals for bragging rights or capitalization. I personally am aware of two animal deaths that occurred from animals who had affiliations in my county. One being a beautiful cougar named Sampson and the other was a chimpanzee that was traveling with a carnival. Both were youn and beautiful and both suffered premature, and unnecessary deaths at the hands of their owners. The average individual doesn’t have the education, hands on training, adequate veterinarian care, proper facilities and in many cases common sense to appropriately support exotic animals.

    Jeri Smith

    • MuddyRock says:

      Thats just silly to judge all exotic animal owners by a handfull of incidents. Gosh maybe we should ban the keeping of dogs and cats since those aspca ads are so sad….

    • Autumn says:

      No good reason for humans to own exotic animals???? If it were not for private husbandry, these animals would have been killed off and extinct. The population of tigers, leopards, lions… etc in thier natural habitat is nearly non-existant. Poachers, illegal gaming and tradesmen looking to make cash with furs and precious bones are killing off these animals and there are not strong enough legislative powers protecting them in the countries where this is happening. What private husbandry does for exotic animals, is no different than what zoo’s do for them, except that private husbandry offers more personal and one on one care than most zoos can offer.

      Exotic husbandry is essential to these animals.

  9. Dave says:

    “Campbell said he’s been told the industry brings $12.5 billion to the state, and “that kind of makes us legitimate in my eyes,” Campbell said.”

    I would say $12.5 billion dollars annually brought to the state would make this a significant industry for Ohio. Is Ohio doing so well in these harsh economic times to be able to kiss this goodbye?

    One death of a volunteer who knew and accepted the risks in working with these animals does not make and epidemic.

    Cruel and inhumane? Perhaps you’ve missed all of this regarding the “humane” treatment of livestock.

    http://tv.nytimes.com/2009/03/16/arts/television/16farm.html

    Or doesn’t that matter to you since it just pigs? At least these exotics are well cared for and maintained in secure facilities and pose no threat to you or will end up in your backyard.

    How about the two young men killed in the barn collapse at the egg farm? Twice as many deaths than from the black bear. How come there is no outcry to stop the construction industry? Very dangerous profession.

    Please advise me where the black bear, once a native to Ohio and now extirpated should be allowed to roam wild and free? How about the native brown bears, the American Cougars pictured with this article, gray wolves and others all once natives to Ohio? By the way all have also been extirpated from your fair state.

    Even zoos have the rare mauling of caregivers. Should we ban all zoos also?

    Most if not all of these facilities are dedicated to the care and preservation of both native and non-native species and provide much more humane treatment than most of the farms in Ohio provide for their production livestock. Visit an egg farm sometime or a factory pig farm. Ever been in a dairy operation?

    Perhaps you are all correct, we should hunt down these animals to the ends of the earth and destroy them due to the dangers they present to the public.

    Knee jerk, reactionary, puppets, parroting the uninformed opinions of others.

  10. Grace Sullivan says:

    So people should be allowed to keep exotic animals because it may or may not be as inhumane as factory farming? It’s not the worst thing they could be doing, so allow it to continue?

    It may be a significant industry, but it’s illegitimate. And one death doesn’t signify an epidemic, but many deaths (both the unnecessary deaths of the animals and humans) do signify a serious problem.

    • KeithC says:

      Grace I would ask did you know that Ohio Revised Code states that any domesticated dog that causes human death? So by your thought process, we should ban dogs as well because of the unnecessary deaths of both human and animal.

    • Autumn says:

      I know a girl who got killed by fireworks in broadview heights… I know several people who have drowned in boats. I know numerous people who have died or been seriously injured on motorcycles… I have seen on the news people who have died on roller-coasters….Just a few weeks ago, someone got killed by a crane at work in Cleveland….and do i really need to go into the whole gun thing?

      so lets ban fireworks, and make motorcycles illegal, shut down amusement parks and people can only work jobs if it is behind a desk and lets take away everyones gun. Apparently, all these things, which pose serious threats to human life need to be addresses immediately. right?

      • Freedom says:

        The funny thing is that many more people are injured from amusement rides and attractions than all “exotic” animals combined. In fact, you could take any common “accepted” activity and find more deaths and injuries form that than from NATIONWIDE exotic animal injuries and deaths. People need to be smarter and more educated as to not believe everything they see and hear on the news. Do some research and form your own opinion.

  11. Amy says:

    “Knee jerk, reactionary, puppets, parroting the uninformed opinions of others” as Dave said, is correct. Additionally, the motivation of those pushing for the ban (HSUS) is an animal rights agenda, not animal welfare.

  12. Reuben says:

    What makes no sense to me is that they are hitting the exotic animals,when there are so many drunk driving fatailties and nobody will say anything about taking alcohol of the street.So really let us take a look at what really kills more people in a years time exotics or alcohol,or cigarettes,If alcohol and cigarettes are allowed then so should exotics.

  13. Individuals who think that exotic animals should not be kept by humans need to do some serious re-thinking…ALL animals were once wild and exotic. Some were domesticated over thousands of years. Humans who provide appropriate care for exotic animals pose NO THREAT to the rest of the community or to the public. Right now, domesticated animals are more of a threat to the average person than exotic animals. Dogs, horses, cattle, even pigs, can be dangerous to humans, even to the point of death. So, the issue is not whether or not an exotic animal is dangerous…MOST animals can be dangerous. When we are living in the US where supposedly there is freedom of choice as long as one does not interfere with another’s freedom, then WHY do some people want to tell the rest of us WHAT animal we can keep? WHY do some people feel it is their prerogative to tell others how to live,when those others are not interfering with them? I think some people need to revisit the U S Constitution and its purpose…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For some of us, happiness is working with non-native non-domesticated animals!
    As long as we are doing so in a RESPONSIBLE manner, providing APPROPRIATE care and housing, then it should be nobody else’s business. Keep in mind, the HSUS wants to ELIMINATE ALL ANIMALS from our lives…farm animals, pets, zoos, etc. I do not think the HSUS is in a position to provide any non-biased input regarding animals.

  14. Dr Barnes says:

    No government entity should listen to HSUS, PeTA or THLN as all three organizations are against human beings owning any animal or using animals for food or medical research. These groups are intent upon pushing a vegan diet at the expense of the human beings. Many of the exotic animals that everyone is so up in arms about have been living domesticated lives and were born into domesticated lives for the last fifty to 100 years. They are no more exotic than the dog or cat now. None of these animals can survive if put back into the wild to fend for themselves. Animal rights nuts pretend to care about animals, but they do not understand nature or how to even take care of an animal. Whenever someone says human beings are only 2% different from the genes of the great ape what they fail to realize is that 2% is actually over 2 billion actual differences which is a far cry from the small number the percentage appears to represent. These nuts want to eliminate all domestic animals because their animal rights religion tells them to tithe to their god HSUS and to follow their rules. But they do not care about domestic animals as Wayne has made it quite clear he believes they should all die off. He works to put into place laws that will push them all to die off sooner as they did by eliminating the humane methods of euthanizing horses and selling their meat so other animals could eat. This man should be eliminated from our society as he is a traitor to the human species and to all domestic animals.

  15. I hope that ALL animal owners will be contacting their legislators to complain about these anti-animal proposals…We who love our animals need to stand together against the dedicated efforts of the HSUS to eliminate animals from our lives.

    • Butch Hash says:

      I think you are right call every day let them know we have a right to own animals The animal rights people don’t want us to own any animals. Gov. Kasich said he wanted to save small business in Ohio Agriculture is a business I think one of the main ones in this state Gov. Kasich said he wouldn’t cater to lobbiest Well what is HSUS and Ohioans For Human Farms? I raise animal that are on the ban I should have the right to raise them sell them and make a profit from them to feed may family just as a soybean farmer should be able to grow beans and sell them Why kill a 12.5 billon dollar business in Ohio Take food from hard working law abiding animal owners there is no wild animals runnning loose in the towns and some people that calm they have trapped thousands should get a license Ohio does have laws for Poaching and you need a permit to trap wild animals You can’t just do it because you work for HSUS

  16. Deirdre Herbert says:

    I find it ironic that once the news that the Executive order has been made that the majority of Exotic animal owners and their affiliates now are concerned and feel threatened. I have seen the many post on forums rallying support both in state and out of state from anyone who has interest or ties to the exotic animal industry to rally together to let your voice and opinion be heard now that it is possible for the Executive order to become a permanent ruling. Where was your concern prior to the Executive order?
    Brent Kandra was not a professionally trained caretaker nor did he have continuous contanct with the animals he was told to feed that day. The injuries he sustained covered him from head to toe covering every aspect of his body – externally and internally – ultimately costing him his life. The animal that decided to attack and viciously mauled him that day was not a “farm” animal, but a “wild” animal that had been breed and kept in captivity. The attack on Brent was the attack of a bear of the wild on his prey or food. There is no painting a pretty picture to make exotic animals appear domesticated-it is what it is and they are what they are-”Wild.”
    Farm animals and farming accidents could never amount to the reality of this one attack by a caged bear. And this is not the only incident in Ohio involving bears attacking people. A woman, a few years back was attacked in her own kitchen by a bear that had escaped during the time the owner was cleaning its cage and traveled to her house and broke in and viciously attacked her here in Ohio.
    The economic gain by bartering and trading these majestic animals could never cover the price of loss of human life, the life long trauma suffered by victims who has survived attacks, and the strain it places on our police and fire department everytime they have to respond to a exotic animal “sighting” or attack.
    These animals do not belong in cages, dog runs, silos, or barns. These animals do not offer any benefit to the agriculture industry in regards to farming. These animals are merely for the purpose of being owned and kept as pets or used for entertainment purposes. I find it ironic that many of the same people who are most vocal publicly for stopping this ban have also experienced numerous USDA citations over the years for care of their animals and have a history of filing for bankruptcy despite their tax exempt status for their business. All the money made of the injustice of jailing these majestic creatures for your own personal enjoyment and gain could never erase the image of what a bear was capable of doing to Brent nor will it ever be able to bring him back or the many others who were victims unnecessarily of a hobby/business of a select few. You continue to argue that HSUS is the enemy and has an agenda, but I am posting to tell you that Brent is the face and reality of exotic animal ownership. As long as I am alive I will continue to fight for the freedom of these animals because they do not deserve all that is natural deprived from them. If Brent was alive today, this would be his fight for the animals- Brent loved animals of all type and he would want to see that no other animal was harmed or person injured or killed due to an animals “natural instinct” kicking in.

    • FED-UP &PO'd farmer says:

      What about the 3 year old boy that was recently torn apart and killed by his neighbors dogs..or the dozens of other people attacked and killed by other dogs-or the people vicously gored by bulls and even cows..Or-how about all the victims killed by serial killers and other murderers-does Jeffrey Daumer ring a bell?? The plain FACT is that hands down there are fewer people hurt or killed by exotic animals than by domestic animals and especially fellow human beings.

      Any person owning or caring for exotic animals are doing so at their own risk-as ANY animal owner-and that risk is no different than that of a police officer or fireman-part of the job. NO ONE forces anyone to own or care for animals-it is something they themselves decide upon-knowing the risks involved.

      It is a complete LIE that exotic animals are left to roam the neighborhood. Owners very carefully contain these animals-and the VERY VERY few that have “escaped” are virtually ALL left loose by animal rights zeolots who illegally trespass and vandalize private property. If any animal SHOULD escape, the owner is responsible for it.

      We live in a country whereby we have the freedom to own property-ANIMALS INCLUDED-period!!! Yes, along with this freedom comes the responsibility to care for them adequately, and to make sure they are properly contained…something exotic owners are already doing now. The plain fact is that NO ONE has the right to infringe upon this freedom-irregardless of what their PERSONAL OPINION may be. If we allow these people to take away this one type of ownership, others types of ownership WILL follow-we will be stripped of all personal property and thrown into the communistic cauldren of evilness and human right violations…This is something that MUST be stopped AT ALL COST.

    • Ironically, the same animal rights activists who accuse owners of “exploiting” animals have no qualms about exploiting people. HSUS is mercilessly exploiting Brent Kandra’s death in order to ban ownership of the very animals Brent loved, even recruiting Brent’s mother (Deirdre Herbert) to help lobby for them. In response, Deirdre, OF COURSE you didn’t hear an outcry from the exotic animal industry BEFORE ex-Governor Strickland signed his “emergency order”. We were busy meeting with his staff and being assured he had no intention of signing an executive order. He lied. He waited until after the election to sign the order. Didn’t save the election, though. I guess we can at least be thankful for that.

    • KeithC says:

      Mrs. Herbert,
      I would like to know to what level do you know of the lady that was attacked by the bear, are you close friends with her? Do you know for certain the entire events that occurred on that day or are you going off the half-truths the media and the Animal Rights people told you of that accident?
      Animal Rights Activists use the extremely few accidents that do happen as weapons against animal owners because it is the very small ground they have to get a foot hold. My mother is very proud of me for the work I do with the animals and my father was as well before he passed away this past November. Both of them support me and think it is a great thing that I take time to raise animals that are not common.
      I feel great regret that your son lost his life but he must have enjoyed working with the animals.

      Meg I beg to differ on your post that the animals on the Ban are top predators. Coyote are on the ban and in North America there has only been 2 deaths due to Coyote, California and Canada, both of which occurred in the wild (neither was domestically owned or raised and not a single accident in the state of Ohio) and the second attack was actually scientifically proved to be coy-wolf hybrid that has naturally occurred in the Canadian wilderness.
      Many of us have been voicing our outrage, just as the article stated, since July when it was announced. These animals are captive breed; they are not “caught” from the wild. We provide them with top vet care, optimal nutrition and give them a life where they are free from predation, starvation, hunted for the fur and a myriad of other issues faced by their wild cousins. Even the US Fish and Wildlife has complemented Exotic Animal Owners for maintaining a blood line that could be used to repopulate wild species that are near extinction. Our bloodlines are not related to the wild and we (owners) can introduce a strong gene pool to save entire species. Without private ownership, there are several species that will soon be extinct on our planet.

    • Jason says:

      Deirdre

      If your going to talk about Brent. Tell the truth. You havent mentioned his sever asthma. Was he attacked by the bear yes. Did his lungs collapse from his asthma oh yeah they did. Or what about how that bear he took care of for 6 years was always let out of his cage to eat. Brent knew the risk of taking care of these animals. Something he loved to do as we all do. When something happens animal related its always the animals fault. Why is that. Because its easiest to blame them. This huge story isnt about losing a great guy. Its all about his family getting rich off his death.

  17. Deirdre Herbert says:

    Polly, no one had to recruit me. A mother would do anything for her child, even after death. Apparently you would never understand that or you would have never suggested that I would allow anyone to exploit my son. I have spoken out at the Statehouse in Columbus and in Cleveland, Ohio. Both times I spoke from the heart of a mother who knows the son she gave birth to, raised, and had to say goodbye to way to early in life. Thank you Polly for publicly showing the integrity of the association with which you are affiliated with and represent to assume that I can not be strong enough on my own to stand up for what I believe in and feel strongly about. One person can make a difference.

    • With all due respect, Deirdre, HSUS is exploiting your son on a daily basis, using his tragic death as a lobbying tool to shut down Ohio’s exotic animal industry and to collect $$$ from the public to fund this and other HSUS animal rights “campaigns”. I am very sorry about what happened to Brent, but I also object to how HSUS is using it (and you) to further their political goals. I know that’s not easy to hear, but the truth isn’t always easy to hear.

  18. Amy says:

    I thought it was said Mazzola would follow the family’s wishes as to whether or not to euthanize the bear. After reading here, I am confused. Knowing what someone loves, what they chose as an adult to do, and not honoring the memory of their life is sad. It makes me think of the Earnhardts and losing one of their own – they honor Dale Sr’s memory, keep on as they know he would want and keep his memory alive. They didn’t try to stop all racing because they know there is a risk. Life IS a risk, everyday. While I’m sorry you’ve lost someone, I can’t help but wonder if this would be his choice of handling the situation. As an animal lover myself, I can say I would not want everyone to stop because of something happening to me. That’s a legacy I can’t imagine having left behind.

  19. Meg says:

    I 100% support the ban on dangerous exotic animals. I support it in defense of the animals, not the people. If a person decides to handle a lion, chimpanzee, bear, or whatever the animal may be, it’s their own fault they got bitten, mauled, torn to pieces, or eaten. No matter what owners of exotic animals may say, they CAN NOT provide a good quality of life for these animals. Nearly all of the animals that would be banned are top predators in their natural habitat…this means that they require large territories to roam. When you put it in a caged area (unless you can fence in 25 + acres) that is not a good quality of life. Furthermore, no matter how responsible pet owners can be, accidents happen an animals escape. Because of this, the biodiversity of the Florida Everglades is in grave danger due to pythons escaping or being let loose. This is just one example. If you want a pet, adopt one of the millions of dogs and cats that are found in shelters. Spay and neuter your pets, and keep your cats indoors.

    • EricWI says:

      Accidents and escapes can and do occur routinely and with far greater regularity with dogs, cats and many other “domesticated” species than with reptiles or other exotics. Why do you think the feral cat has been proven to be among the worst invasive predators of our songbirds and other indigenous wldlife accross the entire United States vs. the Burmese pythons only present in the very southernmost region of the Florida Everglades?

      Never mind the fact that the cold spells mother nature has dished out in Florida in recent years have already been proven to remedy the Burmese python situation quite well:

      http://usark.org/uploads/Dorcas%20et%20al%202010%20-%20Can%20pythons%20inhabit%20temperate%20regions.pdf

      http://usark.org/uploads/Cold%20pythons%20%282%29.pdf

      http://usark.org/uploads/ComeOutOfCold_BCHS.pdf

      http://usark.org/uploads/FloridaBurmGenetics.pdf

    • EricWI says:

      Furthermore, do you believe that an animal’s “quality of life” is always superior to that of a captive individual of the same species? Let’s be honest and realistic here. How about predatation, starvation, disease, famine, parasites, or overall resource loss/degradation?

      Humans have been owning, keeping, and interacting with wild and exotic animals for many centuries and throughout history. Animal care and husbandry is really among the oldest professions in history. Even the domestic dog and cat were at one time “wild animals”, and it matters not whether that occurred ten years ago or ten thousand years ago. However, it is the radical animal rights ideology (which you apparently subscribe to) that seeks to elimate all human ownership and contact with animals at all costs.

  20. Down with the HSUS! says:

    Ignorance creates fear. Fear is the only reason exotic animals are being targeted. Ask any exotic animal keeper about the animal(s) they keep and your likely to be educated to a level you never thought possible concerning the animals. The reasons given for government control of anything has always been fear.

    I leave you with these quotes from Thomas Jefferson:

    1. I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.

    2. Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.

    3. The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.

  21. Ridiculous says:

    Wow so we have no rights? Thats pretty much what’s being said. Exotics are used in schools to teach oir children. I had several constrictors when my children were young and it was never an issue. People need to get off their high horses and stop dictating what we can and cannot keep as pets. My snakes were like part of my family, so if someone told you part of your family was banned how would ur feel. Reptiles should NOT be banned. Snakes hurt far less people than domesticated pets do. If I have a snake and it bites me thats my own problem not any of yours. Stop thinking you know what’s best for everyone and just start thinking. America is supposed to be the country of the free well let us be free then.
    Dogs hurt people, people hurt people whats going on. Its sad when we are being treated like puppets on a string. In my opinion this its not about what’s dangerous or not, its about what people don’t like and don’t want around. If you respond to this and you are an animal owner take a look at your own pet first and imagine being told it its being taken from you.

  22. Gomek says:

    Everyone who think that exotics in Ohio are wild and roam freely. That is just not true. First of all the exotics in Ohio are not wild animals, they are all breed in captivity, and yes they may bit you, and yes my dog or cat may bit you,so what is new. They are millions of livestock a year that are killed inhumanly for the sloe purpose of satisfying our taste for their meat, and for us to look nice in their hides. Secondly if we are told, you can no longer have these exotics what will happen to them? They will be destroyed and then what? is that humane treatment? We will be killing many exotics that just want and need to be loved and taken care of. These exotics have personalities just like all other animals.
    Because most people have NO ideal about exotics animals, and this is why they should be ban. Yes bears do kill people in captivity and also in the wild. Ohio does still have bears in the wild. What is the difference between keeping are bear in captivity, then cutting down the forest where these bears live? The difference is the bears in captivity are well taking care of and inspected by the USDA and they are not in the wild. And by the way bears are also killed for their meat and hide. The thing is if the HSUS is able to get this to pass they will have a greater power to pass other laws for Ohio and many others states. Who’s state is next maybe YOURS! What about all the exotic insects and birds that migrate through your state each year that are killed by cars should cars be banned too. You people in the HSUS should be more concerned with the impact of what we have lost not what we have.

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