Balderson Bill Bolsters Standards For Wild Animal Ownership
Legislation Prevents Future Acquisition Of Dangerous Animals
March 08, 2012
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Columbus - 
State Senator Troy Balderson (R - Zanesville) today introduced Senate Bill 310 to reform current laws relating to wild and dangerous animal ownership in Ohio. The legislation comes in response to the animal tragedy that occurred last October in Zanesville. "As a resident of Zanesville, I will long remember the events of that day and the effect it had on our community," Balderson said. "We knew even as it unfolded that something like this must never again be repeated." Under the plan, three categories will be created for animal classification: wild animals, restricted primates, and restricted snakes. The bill also calls for new standards to be established as a way to provide current owners of wild and dangerous animals with the ability to maintain ownership. However, future acquisition of non-human primates and large carnivores such as lions, tigers, and bears will be prohibited unless those seeking to purchase the animals are either an accredited sanctuary or recognized as a safe and useful facility by a larger association of zoo professionals. Animal owners will have until January 1, 2014 to comply with the new standards set forth in the legislation. Those who fail to do so will forfeit their ability to keep any animals that fall into the three categories. "In determining the best course of action, it was critical to craft a plan that preserves the rights and operations of responsible owners while also creating guidelines to ensure the safety of Ohio's families and communities," Balderson added. Additionally, individuals will continue to have the ability to acquire and breed snakes in Ohio as long as they register their snakes accordingly and abide by new basic caging and care standards. The Republican lawmaker noted that the legislation is the result of a concerted effort among various groups. "From law enforcement officials and wildlife professionals to veterinarians and animal rights advocates, the concerns of a variety of stakeholders helped in formulating this bill. I am confident that through further collaboration and dialogue, we will be able to achieve better care for our animals and added safety to the public." In terms of wild animal ownership, Ohio is currently among the nation's least regulated states. Hearings on the legislation are expected to get underway next week.
Senator Balderson represents the 20th Senate District of Ohio, which is made up of Athens, Coshocton, Guernsey, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, and Washington Counties
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