Ohio panel OKs new rules for exotic animals

COLUMBUS (AP) — Owners of exotic animals in Ohio will be required to meet new caging, safety and caretaking standards under regulations approved today by state officials.

The regulations come as the state prepares to begin issuing new permits this fall to wildlife owners, who must obtain the authorization document by 2014 in order to keep their animals.

Owners will have to pass background checks, pay permit fees, obtain liability insurance or surety bonds and show inspectors they can properly contain their animals.

Ohio officials could seize the animals if owners are found housing them without a permit.

Ohio strengthened its regulation of exotic animal ownership after a Zanesville man released dozens of his animals in 2011 from his eastern Ohio farm before committing suicide. Authorities killed most of the animals, including black bears, Bengal tigers and African lions, fearing for the public’s safety.

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