LETTER: Animal owners have to get involved



On Oct. 17, while I was in the EMH getting a new left knee, the news came across the television about the exotic farm in Zanesville. My first reaction was, “why was this allowed to happen and where was the Ohio Association of Animal Owners?”

I have been doing some research and found out the history of the operation of this farm. We have to police ourselves and not leave it to the government. When government gets involved, they tend to overreact, as they will do now. We will be lucky to keep Mount Hope Auction to sell and buy our products.

When another animal owner was in trouble recently, I and others went down, and helped sort and load his birds, and close down his farm. We must police ourselves and stop blaming everyone else.

The mute swan is in trouble in Ohio because of its numbers around the northern lakes. I have been working with the Mount Hope Auction barn to have all swans pinioned before they can be sold. However, one of the Ohio Association of Animal Owners trustees challenged me that it was not a law. Do we have to wait for the governor to pass laws on how we raise and care for our birds and animals?

We must clean up our act, get involved, or get out of the way.

John W. Kelly
New London, Ohio

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  1. The Zanesville incident is not what triggered the exotic animal regulations that we’re up against. Those regulations began to be drafted many months ago; the Zanesville incident merely added fuel to a fire begun by the Humane Society of the U.S. in June of 2010 when they coerced ex-Governor Strickland into signing a promise to end exotic animal ownership in Ohio.
    As far as “policing” ourselves, I much prefer the phrase “helping one another”. Ohio Association of Animal Owners did help Mr. Thompson on many occasions; a work crew made up of OAAO members spent many weeks at his farm, helping him build better cages for his animals, and taking him many loads of feed. Unfortunately, after the work crew left, conditions again began to deteriorate while Mr. Thompson continued to acquire even more animals.
    Because Mr. Kelly is not aware of all that OAAO is doing does not mean OAAO is doing nothing; it simply means he is uninformed. We share the same objective, which is to keep Ohio’s exotic animal industry alive and well. I find Mr. Kelly’s letter to be counterproductive, to put it kindly.
    Polly Britton, Legislative Agent for
    the Ohio Association of Animal Owners

  2. I never knew there was an OAAO–If it is in support of animal ownership, of any type (with proper husbandry) count me as a supporter. ALL of us who deal with animals in any sort of ‘public'(meat and egg sales, shows, pets, etc) way need support and protections from AR Activists. When I first heard of the “Zanesville incident,” I immediately thought of Hartsgrove, where the bear got out few years ago, and mauled a woman in her home. One needs to be just as diligent about keeping a tiger as a chihuahua.

  3. Is the OAAO in bed with the HSUS and the other animal rights groups? If not why are they not in the public eye as the others.
    This is a ant hill that grew into a mountain. With a program, that includes license and inspections under the control of the people that know these animals such as AKC take charge of dogs, Snake people take charge of snakes this would be a better Ohio. I don’t understand why animal haters are in charge of this problem, they only make is worse.

    • OAAO members are not media hounds like HSUS and PETA. Our people prefer to quietly go about the business of taking care of their animals. From a legislative standpoint, we have maintained a presence at the Ohio Statehouse for the past 21 years. The fact that until now Ohio’s exotic animal industry has been open and thriving is due in large part to our organization. We have fought and defeated so many animal rights bills, it would make your head spin. Many of them were killed before the bills even got introduced, by meeting privately with potential sponsors. Statistics do not indicate there’s any exotic animal emergency in Ohio, but HSUS and Jack Hanna have managed to persuade our Governor otherwise. I believe the Governor has forgotten his promise to protect and encourage small business in Ohio. The regulations he’s trying to ramrod through the legislature would severely impact places like Kalahari in Sandusky, the drive through animal parks throughout the state, and the many federally licensed and inspected breeders and exhibitors who are keeping these animals’ gene pools viable.

  4. It sounds like our Governor and Jack Hanna are getting paid by the HSUS and other animal rights groups. This sounds like he, the Governor needs to be taken out of office now. Is this one of Jack Hanna’s fundraising? He has had animals get loose from the zoo. I think there are still prairie dogs running loose?
    I feel also that there should be a bill introduced by animal owners that animal right groups must apply for a permit every time they want to do anything here in Ohio. If the poor girl scouts have to now have permits for cookies. Animal rights groups must do the same. Its we the people of Ohio make our laws not the anti-animal jerks.
    As far as being quiet, maybe the OAAO group was a little too quiet.

  5. Our governor has forgotten MANY promises he made during his campaign AND during his inauguration speech. I am on a county board that is feeling the effects of his lack of ethics. Every time another budget cut is announced, we have to scramble to find ways to meet the cost of federal and state mandated programs. The State doesn’t even enforce it’s current laws-what good are more laws going to do?-

    • Thats because its about monry right now. He can line his pocket from the AR groups. He was born in Pa, so he dosen’t care about Ohio.
      Now its going to be education of the public for the the true understanding of the damage he has/is causing.


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