You could hear a collective sigh of relief throughout the PETA building when outgoing Ohio Governor Ted Strickland signed an executive order banning people from owning, selling, breeding, or trading wild animals. The move came after several incidents in which frustrated captive animals attacked their keepers.
The order also required current owners of exotic animals to register the animals annually, and it prevented people from keeping exotic animals if they had been convicted of animal abuse or neglect or if their license to exhibit, breed, or possess animals had been revoked. This provision of the law meant that notorious animal abusers such as Sam Mazzola (whose Animal Welfare Act license was revoked in 2008), could no longer keep the exotic animals who were suffering in their care.
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But now, the new governor, John Kasich, has requested that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) not enforce the ban. Instead, he would like the agency to further study the issue and decide how to keep Ohio residents safe without hurting "small business owners" (read: exotic-animal pimps). The ODNR website states that Kasich "is aware that there are questions and concerns by the public and small business owners regarding the emergency rules."
Don't let dealers of exotic animals keep Ohio from enforcing this important ban. It will protect Ohio residents and keep wild animals out of backyards and dismal roadside zoos. Please e-mail Governor Kasich and urge him and the ODNR to enforce this crucial ban.
Written by Michelle Sherrow