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Thread: City Considers Stepping Up Oversight of Exotic Pets (Columbus, Ohio)

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    Default City Considers Stepping Up Oversight of Exotic Pets (Columbus, Ohio)

    Quote Originally Posted by The Columbus Dispatch
    Columbus residents who enjoy the company of gators, boas, wallabies and other less-than-traditional pets might soon face stricter oversight from the city. The Board of Health will consider a proposal that more explicitly details what animals the city wants to oversee, then would require permits for those animals and for the stores that sell them.

    Details are being worked out, including the cost of the permits, which would be less than $100, city officials said this week.

    City rules already call for permits for some of these kinds of pets, but the rules are vague and not strongly enforced, said Roger Cloern, assistant health commissioner. This is an attempt to provide clarity to the public and pet-store owners and more closely monitor the animals in Columbus, he said.

    Only about 50 pet owners have permits, and those were prompted by resident complaints, said Columbus Public Health spokesman Jose Rodriguez.

    Some unusual pets are becoming more popular, including backyard chickens, he said. In the past two years, the city has had 127 complaints about chickens and other fowl.

    One concern about some pets is the potential for illness transmission, said Dr. Aaron K. Messer, the city's public-health veterinarian.

    About 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases originate with animals, he said. In 2003, two Ohioans were sickened with a disease called monkeypox, which was believed to have come from a wallaby and a prairie dog.

    Columbus Public Health officials are eager to hear from pet owners and others before the board votes this summer, Rodriguez said.

    The department has reviewed similar regulations in other cities, including Cleveland, Albuquerque, N.M., and Portland, Ore.

    At this week's city Board of Health meeting, Terry Wilkins, owner of Captive Born Reptiles, questioned the Columbus proposal. He has stores on Morse and Refugee roads and sells alligators, large snakes and other pets.

    The pets he sells have not caused injuries or deaths, Wilkins said. He worries about harassment of pet owners and is upset that the business community was "deliberately kept in the dark" about the effort, he said.

    Christopher Eaken, who also spoke to the board, said the proposal would be hard to enforce and that the city would be better off spending time and money on other things.

    Pet owners would have to apply for an annual permit, which would be issued by the city on a case-by-case basis through a process that could include a home visit to make sure the owner has appropriate accommodations for the pet, Cloern said. If an animal is to be kept outside, neighbors would be surveyed, Rodriguez said.

    The pet-store owners who sell the affected pets would be responsible for making sure customers have the required permits before taking the pet home. Only a handful of pet shops in the city would needs the permits, he said.

    Department officials hope that people who already have pets that require a permit - and those who buy pets outside the city - would seek permits as well, they said. If those pets come to the attention of Columbus Public Health, the staff would approach the owners about getting a permit, Cloern said.

    mcrane@dispatch.com
    The original article here.

    http://www.dispatch.com/live/content...it-or-not.html
    Abigail McDufford
    Wallflower Herpetoculture / iHerp

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    "he pets he sells have not caused injuries or deaths, Wilkins said. He worries about harassment of pet owners and is upset that the business community was "deliberately kept in the dark" about the effort, he said."

    That's my worry about permits. I like the idea of making sure a person is prepared to care for a certain animal, and prepared to contain it so it doesn't escape and hurt someone or the local ecosystem. But if you have a permit and the gov't decides to ban that animal, they know exactly where to find you.


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    Quote Originally Posted by foxe View Post
    "he pets he sells have not caused injuries or deaths, Wilkins said. He worries about harassment of pet owners and is upset that the business community was "deliberately kept in the dark" about the effort, he said."

    That's my worry about permits. I like the idea of making sure a person is prepared to care for a certain animal, and prepared to contain it so it doesn't escape and hurt someone or the local ecosystem. But if you have a permit and the gov't decides to ban that animal, they know exactly where to find you.
    I agree. I personally think crocodilians and exotics such as tigers and chimpanzees should be more closely regulated, but snakes and small exotics... Come on, that's pushing it a bit. I doubt it'll pass, but I figured everyone deserved to read about it to do their part if need be.
    Abigail McDufford
    Wallflower Herpetoculture / iHerp

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    Well in the case of things like praire dogs, they have in the past had issues and the ones becoming pets did carry a disease, so I do understand the need for it. And I do think a permit for some species should be requires like for gators, iguanas, and even giant snakes (simply because the latter two, most people who get them dont understand the under taking involved, at least with gators they ar benot as common of a pet). But for smaller species like hedgehogs, even corn snakes I find it stupid, just another way for the government to control us.
    lets just say I have a lot of stuff
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    Bumping up after the events of the last couple of days.

    This is being discussed on the news.
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    "What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to the man. All things are connected."-Chief Seattle

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    The documentary film http://www.theelephantinthelivingroom.com/ predicted this situation.
    “they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither nor safety”

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    Quote Originally Posted by samanthajane13 View Post
    Bumping up after the events of the last couple of days.

    This is being discussed on the news.
    What was the purpose of bumping this post without adding any new insight or discussion on the topic?

    Personally, I think stronger regulations are needed on some of the more dangerous exotics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillC View Post
    What was the purpose of bumping this post without adding any new insight or discussion on the topic?

    Personally, I think stronger regulations are needed on some of the more dangerous exotics.
    I think it's important remember that to most people 12 ft snakes are considered just as dangerous as any other dangerous exotic animal. To some, even our geckos are too dangerous to have because of the stigma about them (I know that way back in the 1990 my older brother got a gecko -I'm going to guess a tokay gecko- just before I was born and my father made him get rid of it because of the diseases that "ALL REPTILES HAVE" to keep the baby -me- safe. This still runs thick through a lot of people's mind, many are afraid to hold my cresteds because they don't want to get sick).

    It's a fine line to walk, what is considered a dangerous exotic and what isn't. Obviously no one should ever have a wild animal like a tiger or a bear, but other animals like the ones that the people on this forum handle and take care of can be on the line.

    How can we fight for our right to have large snakes, taranchulas, scorpions, and even geckos? If this is issue is being currently discussed in your state or region I implore you to write to your Representative and tell them your opinion, give examples and reasons why your animals shouldn't be on the list and which you believe should be (and if you can, come up with the differences between the animals that should be on the list and the animals that shouldn't - if you can have a difference between the two I think that it will help solidify the idea in their minds). Just be sure to give evidence to back up your opinions, be professional in your writing, and be stern in your opinion.
    GoodTimeReptiles
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    After Ohio panic, call for ban on exotic animal ownership


    CHICAGO (Reuters) – Animal welfare groups pleaded on Thursday for tighter restrictions or a ban on private ownership of exotic animals after a panic in Ohio this week when scores of dangerous beasts were set loose.

    Police hunted down and killed dozens of lions, tigers, bears, and primates set loose from a private menagerie on Tuesday by owner Terry Thompson, 62, who then killed himself.

    "This latest incident simply puts an exclamation point on our call to stop the private ownership of dangerous, wild animals as pets or roadside attractions," Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said in a conference call.

    http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20111...als_loose_laws
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    Ohio governor to sign exotic-pet executive order
    Order will crack down on dangerous exotic pets

    Updated: Friday, 21 Oct 2011, 3:44 PM EDT
    Published : Friday, 21 Oct 2011, 1:44 PM EDT

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Authorities found numerous problems with conditions at a wild animal owner's property over the years, including big cats kept in cages without locks, a black leopard in a basement, lion and bear cubs housed in the same pen and a lion running loose, according to documents released Friday.

    Several neighbors also complained over the years that Terry Thompson's horses regularly got out from the property where the wild animals were kept, and that he and his wife were starving bison and cattle they kept on a farm on the other side of town, the documents show.

    Thompson, 62, freed dozens of lions, tigers, bears and other animals Tuesday, then committed suicide, triggering a big-game hunt in the Ohio countryside as police officers shot and killed 49 of the animals for fear they would harm humans.

    Ohio has some of the nation's weakest restrictions on exotic pets, and authorities decided not to take Thompson's animals because there were no serious health problems.

    Gov. John Kasich on Friday Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he'll push for a moratorium on exotic animal auctions and a crackdown on unlicensed auctions. He had let an order that banned buying and selling exotic animals expire this spring, arguing it lacked legal authority.

    He says he'll propose laws to regulate wild animals by Nov. 30. And he says the state will work toward better application of existing laws until more specific laws are enacted.

    Authorities and animal experts went to the Thompson farm three years ago during a cruelty investigation and found that some of the cages weren't padlocked and were secured with plastic ties, according to the records released by the Muskingum County Sheriff's office.

    They also thought the fences were low enough to allow the animals to get out.

    Authorities in 2008 found animal pens scattered on the patio and driveway and several others inside the garage and basement. They had a black panther in the basement and two tigers and two lion cubs in the garage.

    On a patio next to the Thompson's pool, two lion cubs and one black bear cub were housed in the same pen.

    Terry Thompson's wife, Marian, was quoted in the records released Friday telling detectives that they took in the animals because no one else wanted them. She also said she was trying to end the practice.

    "I'm going to put a stop to bringing in all these animals. I'm telling Terry, 'No more,'" she said in a report filed April 13, 2005.

    Authorities told the couple to fix the cages or they would get a court order forcing the changes.

    In one 2005 complaint, a neighbor said horses from Thompson's property walked to her car, "and started licking the vehicle to get water from the rain."

    Thompson's estranged sister, Polly Thompson, says her brother was likely overwhelmed financially when he committed suicide.

    Terry Thompson had just returned to the property after a year in federal prison on possessing unregistered weapons charges.

    Court records show that the Thompsons owed at least $68,000 in unpaid taxes to the IRS and the county, and he had two federal tax liens filed against him last year.

    "I can just see him standing on that hill looking at every animal, thinking, 'How am I going to do this?'" Polly Thompson, 56, told the AP late Thursday.

    "And I'm sure he thought, 'Nobody wants me,'" she said.

    Polly Thompson said her brother threw himself into any activity he undertook and it was no different when he began collecting wild animals about 15 years ago. His first animal was a lion cub named Simba, she said.

    Her brother summed up his philosophy in a frequently quoted line, she said: "We're not here for a long time, just a good time."

    Her brother got by financially on proceeds from a motorcycle business he sold, sales of horse trailers and other equipment and a small family inheritance. He was also a pilot who occasionally flew chartered planes for businesses.

    Thompson reluctantly testified against her brother about five years ago when he was charged with starving bison and cattle kept at their parents' farm near Zanesville.

    "Anybody that has animals should take care of them," she said in an interview at her home on 10 acres on the outskirts of Zanesville.

    "I don't care who you are, if you can't take care of them, it's not right, you shouldn't have them," she said. "Who wants to testify against their brother?"

    Deputies killed 48 animals — including 18 rare Bengal tigers, 17 lions and eight bears — in a hunt across the Ohio countryside that lasted nearly 24 hours and that has been criticized by some who say the animals should have been saved. Only a monkey was still missing, and it was probably killed by one of the big cats, the county sheriff says.

    ___

    Seewer reported from Toledo. Associated Press writers Doug Whiteman and Ann Sanner in Columbus also contributed to this report.

    http://www.wivb.com/dpps/news/nation...11-tvw_3969758
    Love and Light-
    Donna

    "What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to the man. All things are connected."-Chief Seattle

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