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  1. #1
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    Ohio: Kasich barks; panel acts, will propose exotic-animal ban

    Kasich barks; panel acts, will propose exotic-animal ban

    A stern call from Gov. John Kasich prodded a committee to reach consensus yesterday on a proposed statewide ban on new private ownership of big cats, bears, monkeys and other exotic animals.

    Meeting in private at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the committee of representatives from government and animal interest groups got a high-test jolt from Kasich in a midafternoon conference call.

    Laura Jones, spokeswoman for the state Department of Natural Resources, later said the purpose of the governor's call was to "encourage them to wrap up quickly, to stay on track and get this wrapped up."

    But a source described Kasich's call somewhat differently, saying the governor "read the riot act" to the committee.

    Kasich is unhappy that Ohio has been placed in the national spotlight in a negative way in the two weeks since dozens of wild, exotic animals were shot and killed after they were released by owner Terry W. Thompson of Zanesville. Thompson then committed suicide.

    Kasich told the committee that he wanted it to stop "nit-picking" and to quickly finalize a recommendation for the strongest law in the nation, the source said.

    Though there was no actual vote, the consensus of the committee at the conclusion of the five-hour meeting was to ban new private ownership of big cats, bears, wolves, primates and venomous snakes.

    Current owners, however, would be allowed to keep their animals.

    The measure eventually is expected to be introduced in the General Assembly, perhaps by state Sen. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, among others.

    A previous draft of the proposal would require owners of exotic animals to carry at least $250,000 in liability insurance and to implant electronic devices under the animals' skin so they could be tracked if they escape.

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stor...anel-acts.html
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  2. #2
    Registered User Amon Ra Reptiles's Avatar
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    Well this is at least a little encouraging. I'm hoping that they limit the reptile ban to venomous. I hate that the actions of a few irresponsible people lead to limitations for those of us who are knowledgeable, responsible breeders and hobbyists, regardless of what animal we choose to raise, but at this point HSUS, ODRN, and the politicians are on a headhunt and definitely aren't going to stop without some type of ban. I just hope that they limit the reptile ban to venomous and let us continue to breed our non-venomous reptiles. It sucks that we won't be able to branch into hots like we had hoped to do one day down the road but if we can keep our Burms, retics, boas and balls I think we have to look at it as a major victory. Now let's just hope we can actually keep those.
    Last edited by Amon Ra Reptiles; 11-01-2011 at 11:57 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Ohio: Kasich barks; panel acts, will propose exotic-animal ban

    And that is precisely the sort of naive mindset that will lead to the total dismantling of the reptile industry...

    Quote Originally Posted by Amon Ra Reptiles View Post
    Well this is at least a little encouraging. I'm hoping that they limit the reptile ban to venomous. I hate that the actions of a few irresponsible people lead to limitations for those of us who are knowledgeable, responsible breeders and hobbyists, regardless of what animal we choose to raise, but at this point HSUS, ODRN, and the politicians are on a headhunt and definitely aren't going to stop without some type of ban. I just hope that they limit the reptile ban to venomous and let us continue to breed our non-venomous reptiles. It sucks that we won't be able to branch into hots like we had hoped to do one day down the road but if we can keep our Burms, retics, boas and balls I think we have to look at it as a major victory. Now let's just hope we can actually keep those.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Amon Ra Reptiles's Avatar
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    So let me guess your hope is to keep all exotics legal? I can promise you with absolute certainty that it is NOT going to happen. They WILL ban something like it or not. So you can take the absolute approach of "I won't let you ban anything" or you can be a little more realistic and try to fight to keep what you have an actual chance of keeping.

    Naive is thinking that nothing will be banned at all.

  5. #5
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    Re: Ohio: Kasich barks; panel acts, will propose exotic-animal ban

    I do not doubt that regulations of some sort or another will inevitably come of this. For the record, I fully support mandating BMPs, handling and transport protocols (including bite protocols), housing, etc for crocs, venomous, and large constrictors. But also remember that reptiles of any kind had zero to do with the Zainsville incident, and thus need to be dealt with seperately from large carnivorous mammalia. I do suspect it will be an uphill battle, But I am also unwilling to accept a defeatist approach to the situation or to throw keepers of any kind under the bus as you seem to have. Your non venomous reptiles are also on the chopping block called HB 352 in case you weren't aware. Even your ball pythons (assuming you keep them).

    This whole issue is equivalent to a speeding 18 wheeler tanker truck barreling down the highway out of control. We have one of two options: We can jump out its window or stand back from it while it crashes into a fiery explosion, or we can try to take control of the wheel of that truck to regain at least some control...

    Quote Originally Posted by Amon Ra Reptiles View Post
    So let me guess your hope is to keep all exotics legal? I can promise you with absolute certainty that it is NOT going to happen. They WILL ban something like it or not. So you can take the absolute approach of "I won't let you ban anything" or you can be a little more realistic and try to fight to keep what you have an actual chance of keeping.

    Naive is thinking that nothing will be banned at all.
    Last edited by ER12; 11-01-2011 at 01:35 PM.
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  7. #6
    Registered User Amon Ra Reptiles's Avatar
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    Again I think there is indeed someone in this conversation that's being naive but again I don't think it's me. Also, it's funny how you took me thinking that only banning venomous reptiles was a victory as a defeatist approach. I don't recall saying I agreed with it, any of it. I also don't recall saying that I wouldn't fight it. Because I assure you I will. But, I can also assure you that if politicians want this ban to happen it will. We as the reptile community do not represent a large enough voter base to stop that and unfortunately you can stick your bottom lip out, cross your arms and stamp your feet all you want but I say again if they want this ban they WILL get it. I am also well aware of the wording of HB 352 I have a copy saved to my phone. However, the point I was trying to get across was that hopefully the word venomous being used rather than blanketing all snakes is a step in the right direction and if it has been changed then it is absolutely a victory. Maybe it's not perfect but it is an improvement.

    If you think that we are getting out of this without any reptiles being included then I think you may want to remove the rose colored glasses a pour yourself a glass of reality. By all means fight as I intend to do in any way I can but it's going to happen.

  8. #7
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    Re: Ohio: Kasich barks; panel acts, will propose exotic-animal ban

    At this point in the game, the bill resulting from the workgroup consensus has yet to even be introduced, let alone be enacted into law through signature by the governor, as is typically the case required of the legislative process. Alot can happen from now until then. You are entitled to feel the way you do now, but I shall reserve my pessimism for when I feel it is most appropriate; at the stroke of the governor's pen.

    That is precisely why it is up to us as citizens, constituents, and special interest groups (i.e. PIJAC, USARK, OAAO, etc) to try to convince legislators to NOT enact a ban. That is perhaps entirely our role, if not obligation, as voting constituency in the first place.

    As stated previously, I am not doubting that regulations will come of this (see my truck analogy). However, I believe we as a reptile community have more control or say in what the outcome of this situation may be than we may believe, especially if viable alternatives are proposed (i.e. the USARK model). Remember, Most politicians put forth very little effort as far as crafting bills and voting on them go, and perhaps even less in reading and understanding them. I suspect most will simply be looking for solutions on a silver platter. That is what we can offer them. it is also the same road we have been down before with a tiger mauling that spurred the N.C. ban several years ago, and we came out victorious with model regs enacted in place. USARK has informed me that they will be doing the same by pursuing their model regs in Ohio as they pertain to venomous, crocodilians, and large constrictors. If you are interested in that endeavor, I recommend talking to Andrew Wyatt for further details.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amon Ra Reptiles View Post
    Again I think there is indeed someone in this conversation that's being naive but again I don't think it's me. Also, it's funny how you took me thinking that only banning venomous reptiles was a victory as a defeatist approach. I don't recall saying I agreed with it, any of it. I also don't recall saying that I wouldn't fight it. Because I assure you I will. But, I can also assure you that if politicians want this ban to happen it will. We as the reptile community do not represent a large enough voter base to stop that and unfortunately you can stick your bottom lip out, cross your arms and stamp your feet all you want but I say again if they want this ban they WILL get it. I am also well aware of the wording of HB 352 I have a copy saved to my phone. However, the point I was trying to get across was that hopefully the word venomous being used rather than blanketing all snakes is a step in the right direction and if it has been changed then it is absolutely a victory. Maybe it's not perfect but it is an improvement.

    If you think that we are getting out of this without any reptiles being included then I think you may want to remove the rose colored glasses a pour yourself a glass of reality. By all means fight as I intend to do in any way I can but it's going to happen.
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  9. #8
    BPnet Veteran Dragoon's Avatar
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    the naive comment refers to thinking this will stop at venomous. someone between this announcement and the final pen stroke will yell out 'what about large snakes' and 'look what happened in Florida years back.' Plus this bill will be worded with openings for additions that years from now the 'deadly ball python' needs to be added and not to mention the venomous hognose. this is why the NRA fights every gun bill even if it is narrow and seems logical. This cracks the floodgate leaving the industry drowning in red tape and vague wording. As long as the word exotics floats around all of us need to be active in fighting a lot of bills that will be flying our way.
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  10. #9
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    Re: Ohio: Kasich barks; panel acts, will propose exotic-animal ban

    From the OAAO (http://oaao.us/files/action-alert.html):

    The stakeholder group met again on Monday, October 31, to go through another revision of the regulations.
    It was a very long (5 hour) meeting and may be the last stakeholder meeting.

    ODNR’s supposed to email the stakeholders a copy of this revision (Draft #8) late this week, and then we may have a teleconference call early next week to nail down any last minute changes.


    Things have changed significantly since our previous meeting of just one week ago. The group had come up with regulations that, although I wasn’t 100% pleased with, at least the list of animals was kept to a minimum and it appeared that our USDA licensed facilities would be able to obtain the new Propagating Permit and continue their
    businesses somewhat as usual. That has now changed.

    Governor Kasich sat in on yesterday’s meeting via telephone. About halfway through the meeting, he spoke up and told us what his intentions are. He said ex-Governor Strickland’s executive order was a joke (referring to the fact that it was legally unenforceable). Governor Kasich wants humane conditions for these animals, perimeter fencing, significant permit fees, succession planning (where the animals go upon the owner’s death or incapacity), none of these animals as pets, he wants the auction banned (he apparently doesn’t know that Mount Hope already agreed to stop the sale of these types of animals), and no zoos on private property. He went on to say that it will be unacceptable for any legislator to object to the new regulations because it affects his/her constituent, and if any of the agencies fail to do their job (referring to enforcement of the regulations), he will fire them.


    Governor Kasich has been meeting with Jack Hanna, so it’s not surprising that many of his comments mirror what we’ve been hearing from Jack. The Governor was adamant in his comments, and by adamant I mean he barely stopped short of shouting. I believe if the Governor had his way today, there would be no private ownership of any of these animals in Ohio. Fortunately, the Governor does not write law, and neither does Jack Hanna. The stakeholder group’s regulations have to be submitted to the Ohio legislature and passed by that body before they can become law in the State of Ohio; however, there is no doubt in my mind today that these regulations will be on a fast track, unlike most bills we’ve had to fight in the past. Before the Zanesville incident, we were in a much better position than we are today.

    There has been a copy of a previous version of these regulations that’s been circulated among some of you. I intentionally did not send that out, because it was already outdated at the time it was obtained. Instead, I sent you all an email outlining what it contained. To reflect the changes made at yesterday’s meeting, I am providing the following details.

    There may be some more “tweaking” once the stakeholders receive a copy of this latest revision, but here’s basically where we stand right now:


    Specifics:

    Class I Restricted Species:

    Lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, lynx, cougars, caracals, and subspecies and hybrids of these cats
    (Servals were also discussed, but were not added to the list as of yesterday’s meeting.)

    Bears, All nonhuman primates

    *Pure wolves (hybrids would be addressed under existing dog law)

    Rhinos, elephants and hippos

    *Cape buffalo

    *Non-native wild dogs

    *Hyenas

    Alligators
    Crocodiles

    Caimans (dwarf caimans exempt)

    Gharials

    Reptiles: Atractaspidae, Elapidae, Hydrophiidae, Vipers



    *These were discussed but the group did not make a final decision on whether to include them on the list.



    Class II Restricted Species:

    Reptiles: Boa constrictors and Anacondas, and pythons

    Note: Ohio Dept of Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer insisted on moving all the venomous snakes to Class I. They were formerly in Class II at the recommendation of ODNR.



    Four types of permits:

    Class I Restricted Species License: Permits the licensee to possess Class I restricted species that were possessed on the date the new law takes effect. License is good for 3 years and is renewable for the life of the animals. License fees are “tiered”: XX dollars/yr for 3 animals or less, XX dollars/yr for 4 to 15 animals, and XX dollars/yr for more than 15 animals.


    Class II Restricted Species License: Permits the licensee to possess Class II restricted species. License is good for 3 years and is renewable. License fees are tiered: XX dollars/yr for 5 animals or less, XX dollars/yr for 5 to 15, and XX dollars/yr for more than 15.

    (In order to breed the animals, owner would need to get the Propagating License instead.)


    Restricted Species Propagating License: Permits the licensee to possess and breed Class I restricted species (only those that were possessed on the date the new law takes effect), and Class II restricted species. License is good for 1 year and is renewable.

    License fees are tiered: XX dollars/yr for up to 50 animals, XX dollars/yr for more than 50. For Class I restricted species, the Propagation license would be issued only to facilities that have a USDA Class A, B or C license, meet the new care standards, have a “memo of understanding” with a zoo, or have a Species Survival Plan.

    Restricted Species Wildlife Sanctuary Permit: For nonprofit refuge organizations that do not conduct any commercial activity (no breeding, selling, exhibiting, etc.) If they’re open to the public, whether or not they charge for it, they’d have to have the Propagating License and meet those requirements. Something we did not discuss is whether the sanctuaries are limited to Class I animals they possess on the date the new law takes effect, or are they allowed to take in new animals. It stands to reason that sanctuaries would be allowed to take in new rescued animals, but the draft regulations don’t specify that, because no one thought to bring it up.


    Other requirements:

    Liability insurance. $250,000 for 5 or less Class I restricted species, $500,000 for 6 to 15, or $1,000,000 for more than 15. Although there are no Ohio insurance agencies offering this type of insurance, there are some out-of-state agencies that do.


    Permanent identification -- Microchip or other unique i.d. such as tattoo, unlawful to remove it
    Cage specs to be established by Chief of Div. of Wildlife, through the agency rulemaking process. A committee will be set up to help draft the rules. OAAO will have a seat on the committee. The rules will address things such as husbandry, welfare, public health & safety, and transport.


    Signage on each building/enclosure housing a restricted species, and on each transport vehicle.

    No physical contact with the public (OAAO and ODNR both suggested an exemption for animals up to 6 months of age or up to 25 pounds, but the stakeholder group overruled it.)



    Recordkeeping

    No permits issued to anyone with a felony conviction for drugs or violence, or cruelty to animals.

    No release of restricted species into the wild; any peace officer or person working within their jurisdiction (veterinarian, etc.) may euthanize a free roaming Class I or II restricted species if it’s deemed to be a hazard to public safety. No civil action may be brought against an officer or agency for such euthanization. (This may be expanded to say that anyone may euthanize any of these animals that are released/free roaming. ODNR legal counsel is working on the language.)


    Owner is responsible for reimbursement or replacement of anti-venom.

    If owner dies, the next of kin, designee or person designated in the estate may continue to possess the animals for the remainder of the permit period or until all the animals are transferred to a permitted facility, such transfer to be approved by Chief of Div. of Wildlife. The facility where the animals are kept would have to meet the standards. (This would allow the next of kin to either keep the animals at the original/permitted location, or transfer them to another permitted facility.)

    Must establish a disaster and escape plan to be submitted with the permit application.

    Must report escapes to law enforcement and Wildlife Officer. (This section is being revised.)



    Exemptions:

    Institutions approved by AZA and/or ZAA (some stakeholders are questioning whether ZAA facilities should be exempt)

    Educational and scientific institutions permitted under ORC 1533.08 that possess native wild animals defined as Class I or II restricted species

    USDA licensed research facilities

    Circuses temporarily in the state for less than 45 days/yr provided there is no physical contact with the public (since elephants have been added, this would prohibit elephant rides)

    Wildlife rehabbers permitted by Div. of Wildlife

    Persons transporting restricted species through the state if transit time is not more than (72) hours and animal is not exhibited.

    Veterinarians working under a valid client-patient relationship.

    HSUS recommended the Mascot Program exemption be eliminated and let the legislature add it back in if they choose to do so.


    Penalties:

    Still under discussion


    Notes:

    There will be language in the bill that allows the various agencies to inspect for each other.


    ODNR’s statutory authority is being expanded in this bill, and also in their “Omnibus” bill.



    The Ohio Federation of Humane Societies has persuaded ODNR to include language in this bill that would reactivate the “Ohio Humane Society” that has been defunct for many years.


    “Pet” owners would be “grandfathered” for the restricted species owned prior to the date established in the legislation. (The draft shows Jan. 1, 2013, but it’s an arbitrary date by ODNR and we’re still discussing what the date should actually be.) Owners would have to meet the caging requirements before being issued a license.

    When this bill goes to the legislature, we’re going to need your help. OAAO chose to participate in the stakeholder meetings to represent the interests of the exotic animal owners. Henry Heffner and I have been at each of the meetings. We needed to be there to know what was being considered, and to get as many changes made as possible to protect our exotic animal owners. When the time comes for committee hearings,
    don’t be a no-show. We’ll need lots of bodies there, whether or not you testify.


    If you have specific questions on any of this, please email me.

    Polly Britton
    Legislative Agent

    Ohio Association of Animal Owners

  11. #10
    Registered User Amon Ra Reptiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragoon View Post
    the naive comment refers to thinking this will stop at venomous.
    Can someone please highlight for me where in my posts I made this statement? If not then please stop putting words in my mouth. What I said was that this was a victory, a step in the right direction. And it absolutely is, if they are indeed changing the wording from "reptile" to "venomous reptile," that sure sounds better to me. I understand that the battle isn't over, nor do I like the idea of reptiles being included at all (also stated above) but it is possibly A STEP in the right direction.

    Everyone seems to be getting their panties in a bunch over what they ASSUME I MEANT, not what I actually said. When we make assumptions we make ourselves seem less intelligent than we actually are (as seen above.)
    Last edited by Amon Ra Reptiles; 11-02-2011 at 11:38 AM.

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