90-day state ban on exotic animals expiring

Gov Kasich Overturns Animal Protection Rule

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s 90-day ban on the ownership and sale of exotic animals such as bears, lions and crocodiles will be allowed to expire on Wednesday, which concerns the father of Brent Kandra of Elyria, a 24-year-old who was mauled to death on Aug. 24, 2010, by a black bear at Sam Mazzola’s compound in Columbia Township.

“It’s kind of goofy to start the process all over again,” said John Kandra, who had hailed the ban on ownership of new exotic animals kept in the state.

The administration of Gov. John Kasich will reopen discussions about what regulations are needed, according to a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, who said there was not enough public input before the initial ban was put in place.

The Kasich administration is concerned about the legality of the ban as well as the danger to state workers in enforcing it and the potential costs of caring for seized animals, according to ODNR spokeswoman Laura Jones.

She said she did not know of any instances where the law was enforced.

Jones said the ODNR will begin accepting public comments at www.ohiodnr.com/tabid/23166/Default.aspx as well as meeting with key stakeholders such as humane organizations, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

“The governor supports the regulation of dangerous wild animals but also supports the open process,” Jones said.

In one of his final executive orders before leaving office, Strickland ordered a ban on the future ownership, breeding, sale, trade or barter of wild animals “that are dangerous to human health and safety.”

The list of banned animals includes bears, tigers, monkeys and apes, cougars, alligators and venomous snakes.

The law banned new exotic pets and allowed existing pets to be kept only under tough new rules in Ohio, one of the few states where wild pet ownership was largely unchecked.

The Strickland ban also had been praised by Deidre Herbert, Kandra’s mother, who had said it would “prevent other families from experiencing a tragedy like what my family has had to experience.”

John Kandra said he hoped the state does not back off from regulating exotic animals, saying that laws are needed.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.

 

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