Strickland bans ownership of wild animals to fulfill agreement with HSUS

COLUMBUS — Outgoing Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland issued an executive order Jan. 6 that bans the private ownership of dangerous wild animals.

The emergency executive order allows for the immediate adoption of a new Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife rule, which fulfills the governor’s responsibilities brokered in the agreement between Ohio’s agricultural leaders and the Humane Society of the United States last summer.

The new order covers such animals as big cats, bears, wolves, non-human primates, large constricting and venomous snakes, and crocodilians. The Ohio Revised Code lists some species as “wild animals,” but does not maintain a complete list.

The executive order authorizes the ODNR Division of Wildlife to adopt a new rule that 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.

What’s covered

Under the rule, the ownership, breeding, selling, trading, and bartering of dangerous wild animals is prohibited to anyone who does not currently own one of the designated animals.

Similarly, existing owners of wild dangerous animals cannot breed, sell, trade, or barter these types of animals.

Existing owners would be allowed to continue with their ownership if they register their animals by May 1, 2011, and every year thereafter.

Massillon mascot exempt

Accredited zoos, bona fide wildlife sanctuaries, and certain other facilities are exempt.

Also, subject to certain criteria, long-standing circuses and mascot programs, along with veterinary hospitals, research facilities, Department of Natural Resources-permitted native-wildlife rehabilitation facilities, law enforcement officers, and temporary transporters will also be allowed to continue to own these types of animals.

According to ODNR Director Sean Logan, who is also leaving office under the new Kasich administration, the rule will become effective immediately, but it is only effective for 90 days.

“We hope the incoming administration will see the value of this effort and take the necessary steps to implement a permanent rule that would ban the ownership of these species,” Logan added.

During those 90 day, ODNR will submit these rules to the state’s rule-making body, the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, for inclusion in Ohio’s Administrative Code.

3 Comments

  1. maggie b says:

    Honor his word to the animal rights activists but throw his constituents under the bus to do so. No wonder he’s on the way out the door.

  2. KeithC says:

    Nothing like an Ordained Minister that lies, especially one that is a Governor. He lied that there is an emergency, he lied that DNR Requested this, he lied in his tenure he helped create jobs in Ohio.

    The order exempts AZA- and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries- accredited facilities. Both are private corporations with financial links to HSUS. The emergency order creates a monopoly for those two corporations, while shutting down the other USDA- and DNR-licensed facilities that have these types of animals. In Governor Strickland’s own words last fall, the exotic animal industry is a 12.5 billion dollar/yr industry in Ohio. His emergency order will shut down a large part of that 12.5 billion dollar industry. Ohio cannot afford more job loss.

    There is no exotic animal emergency in Ohio. Licensed animal owners have safely and securely kept these animals for many years and are subject to regular, unannounced government inspections to ensure that the public and the animals are not at risk. This emergency order is fueled by animal rights extremism and scaremongering, and it is a direct attack on commerce and private enterprise in Ohio. This order was not requested by a government agency (the DNR) as Governor Strickland indicates in paragraph 5 of the emergency order; it was agreed to by HSUS, Ohio Farm Bureau, and the Governor himself.

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