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Ohio says it is ready for new ban on exotic animals

  |   Dec. 26, 2013 at 11:08 AM
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Ohio has prepared a holding facility for exotic animals, ready for Jan. 1, when its new ban on owning dangerous pets takes effect.

The Dangerous Wild Animal Temporary Holding Facility built at a cost of $2.9 million in Reynoldsburg, a Columbus suburb, is ready for animals seized from owners or given up voluntarily, the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported Thursday. Agriculture Director David Daniels said his department is ready.

"We've been working through all the issues," he said. "The staff is in place."

The facility already holds a few animals, the newspaper said. A reporter saw four alligators and a cougar.

Ohio has had few limits on the ownership of exotic animals. Authorities said 888 have already been registered.

Efforts to tighten the law got new impetus in 2011 when a man keeping dozens of animals on his Zanesville farm released most of them before taking his own life. Police killed lions, tigers and bears to protect the public.

Under the new law, a long list of animals must be registered with the state, including large exotic species like hippos and elephants, predators like lions and tigers, alligators, all venomous snakes and constrictors like pythons and anacondas that are longer than 12 feet. Most current owners will be allowed to keep their animals -- but not to breed them -- and new acquisitions will be barred.

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