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Lions and Tigers and Bears - Oh %^&*!!

April Truitt October 22, 2011

By now we've all had a chance to reflect on the carnage in Zanesville, OH - even as more gruesome details continue to be revealed. While much ink is being given to the debate over the actions taken by the Sheriff's Department, the real question we should be asking is: Despite over 30 complaints reported in the last 5 years, why were local authorities powerless to take action in this situation?

After a kangaroo attacked and severely injured 80-year-old John Kokas at Kokas Exotics Animal Farm in Green Camp, OH on September 20, 2011, The Zanesville Times-Recorder reported that Sen. Dave Burke, R-Marysville (representing Ohio's 26th District), ODNR, zookeepers and other interested parties are working on statewide legislation to address incidents like the attack in Green Camp. "There is a problem. We want to make sure this doesn't happen again," Burke said.

Chad Grody, the Marion County wildlife officer, said ODNR has no regulatory authority over non-native animals. "We regulate the fish and wildlife native to Ohio. The Ohio Division of Wildlife does not license exotic animals." The kangaroo was euthanized.

This preventable tragedy reinforces what we’ve been saying for over two decades: Wild animals are simply not pets, and do not belong in the hands of those ill-equipped and unprepared to care for them. Absent common sense on this issue, stronger state legislation is needed - and now!

Although the Executive Order just signed by Governor John Kasich is a logical first step - until and unless the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of WIldlife is actually given regulatory authority over non-native animals, the lucrative trade in and collecting of inherently dangerous animals in Ohio is free to continue - with no oversight. According to USDA records, the State of Ohio is home to 236 licensed Class A Breeders, Class B Dealers & Class C Exhibitors. Our best guess is that there are at least another 500+ unlicensed owners of exotic "pets" in Ohio, but since no licensure is required for private owners like Terry Thompson, no one really knows.

How many more injuries, escapes, mauling and deaths are the citizens of Ohio willing to endure?
Let Governor John Kasich know how you feel about this issue.



By Ziggy on November 30, 2011

You get a lot of respect from me for wrintig these helpful articles.

By Jayan on November 30, 2011

This arcitle keeps it real, no doubt.

By Lisa Mortimer on February 14, 2012

I think that there are some problems about lions, tigers, and bear. I think that there would be some solution about it. I know that there are a lot of issues about this wild animals.

By Robert on March 01, 2012

It is a cruel things that happened to the animals in Zanesville. Killing the poor animals which has done nothing wrong.


By Sherwin Chen on April 24, 2012

When even dogs, our most trusted friend,  can turn against their owners in a matter of seconds, what guarantee do we have that the exotic animals being kept will stay tame? The truth is, there will never be a guarantee, unless we lock them all up inhumanely. That is simply not an option, and the better solution is to step up the law to curb illegal imports of exotic wild animals.
Sherwin Chen

By Jen Caravello on June 24, 2012

Hey April,
I know it’s a little late, but I was feeling nostalgic and reading through PRC stuff.

I wanted you to know that I do a unit every year with my sixth graders in which they have to research then compose and defend an argument as to whether zoos can provide a good captive environment. Most draw the conlclusion that big zoos can do an OK job for some animals, but that certain animals should never be in captivity. We also visit the Louisville so they can critically observe a chosen species in the captive environment. The kids were appalled by most of the enclosures and social groups. This tragedy at Zanesville occurred right at the same time and the kids begged to compose a letter to the Ohio State Legislature, which we wrote as a class and then signed and sent. I told them that I worked for someone (you) who was instrumental in making exotic ownership illegal in KY, and one girl said, “Well,I’m glad I live here, then. I feel much safer!”


By vdimtckv on November 27, 2012

It could be because of their culture too, or it could be because of early habits that have become routine activities.

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