A new toll-free hotline and website, dangerouswildanimals.ohio.gov, have been established by Governor John R. Kasich’s Executive Order of October 21st to help protect the public and Ohio animals from dangerous conflict.
Most people are probably aware of what happened with all the exotic animals near Zanesville recently. Close to all the animals were killed, even though most of the big cats and bears had been declawed. The surviving six animals are under quarantine at the Columbus Zoo to make sure they are disease- and parasite-free before they are moved elsewhere.
While operating a toll-free hotline (855-DWA-OHIO) and maintaining a website may raise some awareness, it probably doesn’t go far enough toward the kind of statewide policy changes required to actually change the fact too many people own exotic animals there in a manner that could be dangerous to people, and isn’t good for the animals.
Many calls had been made to authorities about problems with exotic animals at the Zanesville property prior to the disaster. Nothing was done at those moments, because law enforcement said there wasn’t anything for them to do. In other words, housing exotic animals – even a large number – was legal. So the crux of the issue was not a lack of awareness of the existence of exotic animals, it was (and remains) the fact they are allowed in the state at all.
On October 31st it was reported a ban on future purchases of exotic animals was introduced in the legislature as a bill, but no action had been taken. The bill would also ban persons convicted of animal neglect or abuse from owning dangerous exotic animals.
Image Credit: Kabir Bakie