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john kasich
bengal tigers
jack hanna
dangerous animals
police involvement
Ohio Animal Laws Set To Be Changed: Further Tragedies Must Be Averted
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Ohio Animal Laws Set to Be Changed: Further Tragedies Must Be Averted

Even the Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, Jack Hanna has said it: Ohio needs an immediate reform of its lax and lacking exotic animal laws. Animal right groups and animal lovers alike have inundated Ohio Govenor John Kasich with demands to sign an executive order, trying to come to at least some semblance of action before new laws can be passed and then enforced. Following the past week's animal tragedy, there was little more that he could do, signing an executive order that would make some changes to the existing laws as well as trying to determine where new laws will need to go in the very near future.

Terry Thompson, a man who had a lengthy history of police involvement had already been convicted of charges of animal cruelty in 2005. He had repeatedly threatened to turn his animals, then including wolves, bears and big cats, loose whenever there was an investigator near his property. Shortly after returning home from a one year prison term, Thompson made good on his threats, turning all of his nearly sixty dangerous animals loose before shooting himself to death on his farm. Animals may have eaten on of his monkeys before they started to make their way to the road way, presumably in search of new prey. Panicked 911 calls came in by the dozens and sherrif's deputies that had been dispatched to the scene were quickly aware of the fact that they were in way over their head.

One of the animals was shot with a tranquilizer gun, according to reports but the animal went on a rampage and had to be killed for the protection of the deputies. The other animals, including two wolves, eight bears in total, seventeen lions , three mountain lions, a baboon and eighteen Bengal tigers were all shot and killed. All of the other animals were captured and are being housed at the zoo. Reports that one potentially diseased monkey was still at large continue, however Hanna and other experts are confident that the monkey was more than likely eaten by one of the big cats.

Kasich's new law calls for several agencies to step up their work to identify locations where these dangerous animals might exist as well as to identify potential, unlicensed auctions where they might be sold. The loosely worded, often unenforced exotic animal laws in Ohio has long made it the center for animal tragedies where people with no real animal experience try to take on the care and management of an animal that is not bred to be a pet or to have constant interaction with humans.

The Humane Society has defended the action of the deputies saying there was little else that could be done but fears that Kasich's attempt at helping is not adequate and does nothing to address the central problem.


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