Thursday, January 6, 2011

Outgoing Gov. Strickland orders ban on exotic pets

COLUMBUS — Exiting Gov. Ted Strickland banned new exotic pets Thursday in one of the few remaining states without such a restriction, and allowed existing pets to be kept only under tough new rules.

Though Strickland’s emergency executive order is only effective for 90 days, Gov.-elect John Kasich said he saw no immediate reason to reverse it after he takes office Monday.

Ohio was one of fewer than 10 states remaining where wild pet ownership was virtually unchecked.

Strickland’s order called for a ban on the future ownership, breeding, sale, trade or barter of wild animals “that are dangerous to human health and safety.” People who already own exotic pets will now have to register them with the state and will be barred from breeding or selling their boas, chimpanzees, tigers, bears and other wild animals.

The order fulfills Strickland’s end of a deal brokered by his administration with the Humane Society of the United States, other animal rights groups and Ohio’s agribusiness industry. The agreement prompted the Humane Society to withdraw a ballot issue containing a litany of restrictions on pet ownership and treatment and livestock care.

In a statement, he said the agreement “will keep Ohio’s vital agriculture industry profitable while appropriately updating animal care standards.”

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