UPDATE: Ohio Governor Kasich Signs Exotic Pets Bill; Too Little, Too Late?
On Friday, October 21st, after much prodding from not only animal welfare/animal rights groups, but from his own constituents, supporters and non-supporters, Ohio’s much contested Governor John Kasich signed an Exotic Pets Bill into law.
This was only days after the Zanesville, Ohio massacre (which made national news) of almost 60 wild animals, including rare big cats, bears, monkeys, and more.
Is it too late?
I say yes.
** Previous Governor Ted Strickland noted in an article that he had created legislation for the ban, but was quick to note that the new Governor had let it slide — not uncommon in Ohio, which ranks near last in the US for animal protection/animal welfare laws and legislation. **
Want to see the REAL track record of ALL of Ohio’s lawmakers in helping animals?
Parts of the new law are explained here:
ALL EXISTING NATIVE WILD ANIMAL PERMITS WILL BE REVIEWED: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources regulates ownership of dangerous wild animals native to Ohio. ODNR will review existing permits to ensure proper compliance and perform onsite inspections to the fullest extent possible with existing resources, and additional resource needs will be identified for future enforcement efforts.
WILD ANIMAL AUCTIONS WILL BE RESTRICTED AND ANY UNLICENSED AUCTIONS WILL BE SHUT DOWN: The Ohio Department of Agriculture will use its existing authority to regulate auctions to pursue agreements with auction houses that trade in dangerous wild animals to impose a temporary moratorium on their sale. Additionally, the Department will work with the US Department of Agriculture, local law enforcement, veterinarians and humane societies to enforce existing laws and to identify and shut down unlicensed auctions.
OHIO WILL WORK WITH ZOOS TO IDENTIFY SAFE PLACES TO KEEP CONFISCATED OR IMPOUNDED DANGEROUS WILD ANIMALS: A safe and appropriate location to house confiscated or impounded dangerous wild animals is essential to enforcing existing animal cruelty and public health laws, as well as future Ohio laws regulating these animals. Ohio will work with zoos to identify their ability to accept animals that are confiscated or impounded and help meet their needs.
NEW LEGAL POWERS WILL BE PROPOSED BY NOVEMBER 30: A task force including representatives of the Humane Society of the United States, county prosecutors, and veterinarians—led by the Department of Natural Resources—has been crafting a new legal framework for the General Assembly’s consideration that would give Ohio the authority to regulate dangerous wild animals. That task force will complete its work and submit its report by November 30.
OHIO WILL WORK WITH LOCAL AUTHORITIES TO IDENTIFY THE LOCATION OF POTENTIAL PROBLEMS: Ohio will establish toll-free hotline and website and work with local law enforcement agencies, veterinarians, county humane societies, and other stakeholders to identify potential problem locations where dangerous wild animals are kept so that the appropriate authorities can ensure all existing laws and regulations are being followed and enforced.
A COPY OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER CAN BE VIEWED HERE: http://governor.ohio.gov/Portals/0/pdf/executiveOrders/EO%202011-24K.pdf
I personally called the Governor’s office to voice my opinion (Ohio’s legislators are on my speed-dial I swear…) last Thursday and was told a solution was being “worked up.”
But while I had a secretary or office drone on the line, I did pose the question: “will this make the Governor more aware and hence, more apt to voice his support to law-makers on OTHER CRUCIAL pieces of animal welfare legislation for Ohio, i.e. Nitro’s Law (HB 108)?”
The worker bee replied with, “with who’s Law?”
THESE PEOPLE ARE UN- f-in-BELIEVABLE.
It took EVERY SINGLE OUNCE OF SANITY AND GRACE I have to not jump through the phone and strangle this person. Instead, I politely explained Nitro’s Law and was told that the Governor does support the passage of important laws to protect animals, but needs to “focus on unemployment and bringing jobs to Ohio right now.” Also, he “does not have the power necessary to PASS the actual law.” Is this guy a first-year intern or what??
I quickly wrote up and fired off a personal letter — NOT an email — to the Governor. Please email me if you would like to follow suit. I will email you the Word document.
So what do you think? Are Ohio’s politicians playing ostrich when it comes to passing important animal welfare legistation?
Not only on Nitro’s Law, but a Puppy Mill Bill, Ban on Dog Auctions, etc?
I mean, Nitro’s has been around for three years, and a puppy mill bill has been in the works for even longer…
Why can’t they get it done? Is it laziness? Do they not care? Do they not have time? Do not enough Ohioans care? Do we need to throw money at the problem via a lobbyist or something?
Or do they simply not hear from US – their supporters – enough?