Ohio had previously been one of seven states with no restrictions on private ownership of exotic pets.
Senate Bill 310, to go into effect in 90 days, requires current owners to obtain a permit and pay a fee to the Ohio Department of Agriculture by Oct. 1, 2013. Local humane societies would have the authority to seize animals from those without permits as of Jan. 1, 2014.
The law will also ban ownership of specific animals, such as big cats, bears, hyenas, some primates, gray wolves, crocodiles and alligators. However, current owners of such animals will be permitted to keep them as long as they obtain permits and follow other rules, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
Owners of restricted species will also be required to obtain liability insurance or surety bonds for $200,000 to $1 million, and current exotic-animal owners seeking permits will be subject to criminal background checks.
The bill was drafted in an apparent response to an incident last fall when more than 50 wild animals escaped from the Zanesville home of Terry Thompson. Most had to be put down.
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