Friday, October 21, 2011

Tragedy in Ohio

Via - By now, most of us have heard the news out of Zanesville, Ohio, where the owner of an animal preserve set free dozens of exotic animals - including cheetahs, wolves, bears, lions, and tigers - before taking his own life. In the wake of this tragedy, there is certain to be outrage, concern and questions - with the most important question being; why should anyone, let alone a convicted felon with a history of animal abuse, be allowed to keep wild animals in captivity?

Instead of attempting to place blame, we must all agree that more stringent legislation is needed to ensure the safety of the public and the animals. Ohio is one of nearly a dozen states that currently has no regulation to prevent the private ownership of dangerous exotic wildlife. In Ohio, individuals can purchase tigers, cheetahs, chimps, and countless other species from private breeders and auctions. These animals often end up spending their life in backyard cages, where they suffer in deplorable conditions and struggle to survive.

Certain pieces of legislation discourage this type of private ownership. The Captive Wildlife Safety Act, a law which makes it illegal to ship large, dangerous cats (tigers, lions, leopards, etc.) across state lines, was signed into effect on September 17, 2007. In Ohio, an executive order issued last year by then Gov.Ted Strickland prohibited people convicted of animal cruelty from owning exotic pets, and banned private citizens from acquiring certain dangerous wild animals. However, this emergency order expired in April and has yet to be renewed.

Many questions still remain to be answered. However there is one thing we already know for sure: these wild animals should never be privately owned as pets. When they are, the animals (and their owners) always suffer, and the results are often tragic.

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Written by Azzedine Downes

Tell Govenor John Kasich to ban the sale, ownership and harboring of dangerous exotic animals by signing this petition on 


  1. What happened in Ohio sounded like such a bizarre shame to me. Bizarre, because of the circumstances, and a shame, because the bulk of the animals were killed rather than captured. Unfortunately, the nature of large predatory animals like tigers and lions makes it hard to delay action in situations such as those. They definitely should not be privately owned.

  2. I completely agree. Wild kittehs should not be allowed to be owned by private citizens.

    Dis tragedy should not be allowed to happen agin.

  3. Being from Ohio, this incident has certainly hit way too close to home. For years now I have been saying that Ohio needs to tighten up their laws pertaining to animals. It is quite heart breaking to live in a state that does not seem to care to much about these issues.
    Thank you for this post and for spreading the word. I have signed the petition and will pass it along.

  4. So sad! What a selfish thing their owner did.

  5. I just checked Wisconsin's status - sadly, we have no restrictions except that they need a vet's certificate, which means nothing.

  6. Govenor Kasich is expected to sign an order on exoctic animals this afternoon. Not sure what the order actually says, but too little to late for the 43 animals that are now lifeless. So heartbreaking.

  7. Steph - thanks for the update. It's too bad that it took a tragedy like this for the Governor to act. Perhaps, if the previous Executive Order had not expired and action had been taken against the owner, the situation could have been avoided. We'll never know.

  8. In NYC people aren't even allowed to have ferrets in their apartments. I couldn't believe that in other parts of the country, people are allowed to have private zoos. Shocking. Someone—on ones—always have to get hurt or loose their lives before states act responsibly.

  9. We're still trying to comprehend this tragedy. How awful.