Ohio governor signs order on "dangerous wild animals"


Governor John Kasich (Republican of Ohio) listens as U.S. President Barack Obama makes remarks during a meeting with a bipartisan group of governors hosted by the President and Vice President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House February 28, 2010 in Washington, DC.


Ron Sachs-Pool

In the aftermath of the exotic animal escape that made headlines across the country this week, Ohio Governor John Kasich on Friday issued an executive order "instructing state agencies to use existing but underused legal powers in innovative ways to address threats to animal welfare and public health and safety, as well as better support the enforcement efforts of local officials," according to his office. 

In a fact sheet, Kasich's office said that, as a result of the order, all existing wild animal permits in the state will be reviewed. Also, wild animal auctions will be restricted, Ohio will work with zoos to identify safe places to put impounded or confiscated wild animals and a task force will be instructed to craft new rules allowing the state to regulate wild animals.

The executive order itself admits that while Ohio law is clear on the state's authority to regulate native species of wild animals, it is "unclear about the authority that the State has to regulate dangerous non-native wild animals, including, but not limited to, non-native reptiles, lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, cheetah, mountain lions, and hybrids thereof."

Earlier this week, sheriff's deputies shot and killed nearly 50 wild animals, including 18 rare Bengal tigers and 17 lions, set free by the owner of a private zoo in Zanesville, Ohio. After setting the animals free, the owner killed himself.

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