Home / AMERICAN NEWS / Nearly 1/3 Of Ohio’s Exotic Pet Owners Have No Permit Despite Deadline

Nearly 1/3 Of Ohio’s Exotic Pet Owners Have No Permit Despite Deadline

Ohio state law required all exotic pet owners in the state to obtain a permit for their pets by January 1, 2014. Despite the generous deadline given to the owners, as many as 1 out of 3 are estimated to have not received their permits yet. All of this regulation came about after scores of lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!) where released into the public by an exotic zoo owner a few years ago. The owner who released his pets into the town’s neighborhood was suicidal, and did not want his pets to starve to death in their enclosures. The ensuing chaos caused police to hunt down his exotic animals and shoot most of them before they could harm the civilian population. His wild cats and bears prowled neighborhoods as people his in fear at home.

Nearly 1/3 Of Ohio’s Exotic Pet Owners Have No Permit Despite Deadline

1/3 Of Ohio's Exotic Pet Owners Lack Permits

Image from blog.cleveland.com

The state’s Department of Agriculture estimates that of the 82 applications they received for exotic pet permits, that they still have to issue about 23 of them. Some of these permits still require the department’s approval, or are awaiting further information about the animals. Another major area that is complicating the permit process is that all exotic pet owners are being required by the state’s law to obtain liability insurance or a bond before the permits can be issued. Some of the pet’s owners are either struggling to find companies who will issue the required insurance, or affordable rates that would allow them to still keep their pets.

One of the unpermitted owners has almost 100 wild animals, making their compliance process even more complicated. The cost of insuring that many animals can be prohibitive, and many owners do not wish to give up pets that they have owned for many years. The struggle to comply with state law, and keep emotions intact has been difficult for some owners. There have been many exotic pet owners that have either relocated themselves or their animals to other states, or even surrendered their animals to the state. While the process proves difficult for some, there are still many other states that will not even allow such animals to be kept as pets, making Ohio one of the few places where you can legally do so.

For more information on Ohio’s Dangerous Wild Animal Act, you can read here.

Nearly 1/3 Of Ohio’s Exotic Pet Owners Have No Permit Despite Deadline.

About Steven Kenniff

Lives in Phoenix, AZ. Graduated from Arizona State University in 2005. Writes for American Live Wire, GM Roadster and Northstar Media
  • JamieHaman

    Wild animals, exotics, are not domesticated animals. No doubt the majority of the people take good care of the animals in their possession, and probably have some type of emotional bond as well.
    What of the ones who don’t take appropriate care? Does the new law allow for some type of jail time, or fine for neglected or abused, or starved animals?
    I am staggered that someone owns almost 100 animals, that sounds like hoarding, but may be a rescue group.
    Insurance does seem like a very good idea though.

  • jaybigness

    The headline is misleading. When the state has fallen behind and not issued more than 25% of permitrequests, they are at fault for the lack of permits as well. And, if they are requiring liability insurance on exotic pets, they should require it on all dogs as well, since you are more likely to be bit or mauled by a dog than an exotic animal (statistically).
    If the state is going to require insurance, and iinsurers are unwilling to issue policies, then the state should create a program to insure or change the law. You can’t make someone obtain something that is impossible to obtain.

    • hgolden

      No, you are quite wrong. Should taxpayers pay for another bureaucracy so that a a few misguided people can keep potentially dangerous pets? Better idea is to outlaw anyone having these animals. That should be then end of the story, and a fine and jail term for having them.

      • Ryan Parks

        You do realize many of these tax payers are also exotic animal owners and run businesses based off of this trade, right? Shutting down this market will put them out of business as well and further hurt the economy. Such an industry is not as simply as you think – in fact, nothing in life is. Regulations should be extremely well thought out before being put into place, if even at all. Not enacted because of what some secluded and ill-educated group of morons think but know absolutely nothing about, beyond what they’ve seen on their TV screen.

        • BigCatRescue

          Actually, most of them tend to call themselves non profits and in addition to not adding to our tax tills, they deceive the public into supporting their back yard pets under the guise of being “sanctuaries”

          • Ryan Parks

            Oh look, it’s one of the propaganda machines itself.
            Less we not forget many of the non profit “charities” that are actually lobbying organization for destructive animal rights fueled regulations, such as your animal rights buddies over at the Humane Society of the United States and PETA. Little off topic, but do me a favor and ask HSUS why they moved all those funds to off shore accounts next time you meet them. Seems very shady for an organization that claims to simply rescue those sad cats and dogs in shelters.
            There are many sanctuaries out there that are just that. They hold animals that could no longer be cared for by their previous arrangement and offer to do this for the rest of that given animal’s life span, *regardless of the owner’s motivation. One of my favorite examples and everyone’s favorite is Forever Wildlife Exotic Animal Sanctuary out in California. The owners are animal lovers, just like zookeepers and exotic/domestic pet keepers, and they offer comfortable and guaranteed living arrangements to the animals for the rest of their lifespan, provided regulations do not intervene and require the animal to be euthanized for no apparent reason. Regardless of whether you want to call them ‘pets’ to further demonize them because your arguments lack much other weight, or whether they are called zoological specimens, they are still animals and captive animals just need a suitable home regardless, and many use those animals on display to further educate the typically unexposed public.
            Now, on top of all that, there are many animal breeders who run local and nationwide businesses breeding and selling animals to zoos and pet keepers and they do not claim to be sanctuaries at all, but even they will rescue animals in need and serve the purpose of sanctuaries WHILE paying tax dollars. Again, this is a billion dollar business, a statistic supported by tax records. When exotic animals are involved, they most often are breeders, simple pet keepers, zoos, or companies that specialize in utilities to care for the animals, not some dude claiming to be a sanctuary by housing a tiger in his 10 x 10 backyard. Actually, the USDA has regulations as to what defines a sanctuary and inspections that follow. So no, you’re outright wrong here.

        • JamieHaman

          Disqus won’t let me respond directly to your comment, so I’ll answer this way. You are correct that there is no clear definition of a domesticated animal. However I define it as being animals who have and continue to live with humans in close proximity for centuries. I agree that some of the law that Ohio has passed is pretty knee jerk, and could easily be improved. Your idea of creating a tier of permits would require actual though and knowledge by politicians, and that isn’t very likely at all. Seeing tigers in what appears to be small enclosures on the video is disturbing as hell. I dislike the reality of these huge animals being confined in such small enclosures as it strikes me as very cruel. My understanding is that tigers tend to hunting territories of 50 square miles or so and that is pretty clearly impossible in Ohio, or most other places.
          Since tigers are seriously endangered perhaps cages are better than left to be hunted for the insane medications and rugs. The problem with those cages as a stop gap method is that the situation will not get better for animals such as tigers until their habitat is restored to them, and there appears to be no sign that that will ever happen.
          I don’t really give a dam about the trade in these animals, but do think we have far too many people (myself included) who would have no safe reasonable response for or to a tiger walking down the street. Simply saying NO to everything involving wild animals is just as dumb as saying yes to the same.
          Good luck

  • hgolden

    Why oh why is having “exotic” pets even allowed by the federal government? This is so outrageous and potentially dangerous. Further, if you like animals, it is not the kind of life that is good for them. We have anacondas eating everything is sight in the Everglades because someone brought them in, then turned them loose. IF there is not enough common sense by individuals, then the government needs to step in and put some real teeth into the laws as well. Having these animals is simply mindless.

    • Ryan Parks

      The fact you incorrectly called them anacondas (Pythons are not related to boas) is evidence alone that you are ignorant, completely ill-educated on conservation zoology and should hold no authority on the subject matter at all. Just because *you* see no point in owning these animals does not mean others should not.
      You can call it your opinion and cry free speech all you want but that does not cover the fact what you said is still stupid and hold no weight whatsoever. These animals thrive better in captivity than in the wild, (veterinary care is not natural in the environment, and neither is free food) are born in a human environment located in either the U.S. or Europe so they have never even experienced the wilderness but only human care and affection, and pose no more of a threat than many dogs do. Even more, people who go out of their way to obtain these animals are often already well educated on the species they are willing to own and go through a lot of effort to obtain and meet the welfare needs of the animal species involved. Breeding these animals, and more importantly providing materials and supplies to care for these animals, is also an important sector for business as this generates several billions of *legal* dollars for the U.S. economy and both the domestic and exotic pet trade as a whole is one of the main industries that still managed to grow despite bad economic times such as the recent recession. Regardless, the exotic animal trade is mainly comprised of harmless species, such as wallabies, exotic rodents and nonvenomous reptiles. Banning the trade will only lead to resentment by animal owners who will intentionally break the law to continue giving the best care possible to their pets who are as cherished as family members, and a booming, tax free black market trade in these animals. If anything, it will only hurt economic sectors as well as scientific and educational departments. (Many of these animals kept as “pets” are also used by nonprofit educational organizations as well to teach the rather secluded public about the beautiful animal life that lives on this planet up close. No amount of google researching can compare to that kind of experience and teach as much.)

      • hgolden

        Ryan, Didn’t mean to get you all stirred up. Ad hominem is not an argument, so you shouldn’t waste your time trying to demean me or others which whom you do not agree. Who the hell got into all the free speech rhetoric? I know that the anacondas in Florida are causing a big problem, and that they were “pets” turned loose. Are there not enough domesticated animals for people to cherish? Legal-illegal, do we strike down every law simply because some people selfishly violate it. I would like to drive 90 MPH and certainly could in my car, but it might be dangerous to others. At any rate, I stand by my position, there is no reason for people to keep anything that can be dangerous to others, or one’s self for that matter. Do you recall the nut in Brooklyn or nearby who had several lizards which killed him? There is simply no reasonable argument for people having dangerous animals. If it were me, I would eliminate he raising and breeding of pit bulls for that matter. Ryan, have a good day, and remember laws are made an enforced for the protection of everyone. Remember when most people didn’t want to wear safety belts? Now thousands are lives are saved because of belts and air bags, which the auto industry fought. That’s part of the function of good governance–watching out for people.

        • Ryan Parks

          Many of your comparisons are very irrelevant. Do you want to go on and mention how eating solid food presents the risk of choking on it? Maybe it would be safer to drink nutritious shakes and taking vitamin supplements instead! As for the man in Brooklyn, he did many things wrong with husbandry, furthermore this case was continually demonized and distorted for the TV show’s Fatal Attraction’s purpose. The lizards did not kill him, but it was his failure to receive treatment for a bite he received. He was also incorrect in currently housing them and lastly, the lizards did as what any free-homing pet would do with a dead animal and eat the body. Cats and dogs have done the same thing before with their owners when they passed away. In fact, this situation is very plausible to reoccur but only with cats. Someone can, in theory, receive a lethal infection from a pet cat, fail to receive proper treatment, end up dying within their home and ultimately ending up as cat food for the scavenging pet.
          There is no reason to own pets period. However, some people are passionate and make it their livelihood to care for certain animals as they personally enjoy it and it adds meaning to their life in a way they want to. Furthermore, it is simply enjoyable for them. But they do *need* to do it to survive. We do a lot of things we do not need to do to survive. For one, you don’t need to have kids. With the world population on the rise and large amounts of children who are ultimately neglected and abused by their kids, I can give you more reasons to not have kids. However, it is your pursuit of happiness to do what you want with your life, as it is mine and every other person in this country, and as everyone in this world has a different personality and completely different interests. There are also very risky things we do in every day life, and in some case, extremely risky behaviors should be restricted. That said, statistically, keeping these animals properly is NOT one of them and I do not see a valid and logical reason in banning them completely.

    • JamieHaman

      Umm,, freed pet snakes in Florida have been a problem, but the big event was the hurricane that destroyed a warehouse that had a lot of snakes in it. Some 900 snakes freed from the warehouse by hurricane Andrew back in 1992. A good reason not to large scale warehouse any predatory animal.

  • BigCatRescue

    Everyone in the exotic animal world knows they can get insurance, and very inexpensively, from Kalmanson Insurance. Bonds are even cheaper. A 10k bond costs about $200. The bellyaching from Ohio’s big cat owners is nonsense, meant to garner sympathy from reporters and the public. It costs $10,000 per year, per tiger for proper food and vet care, so if these people can afford to take care of their dangerous pets, they can afford to protect the public from them too.

  • MrHappyGoLucky12

    People who want to completely ban exotic animals… Does this mean my exotic turtle from South America that is the size of a deck of cards will have to go? And my small aquarium fish with tiny teeth from the Pacific Islands? My exotic bird might peck somebody. And yes, this is a serious question for you.

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