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October 24, 2011

Talk Back: Ohio Travesty and Next Steps

Tiger closeup

The death of dozens of tigers, lions, bears, and other animals released last week by an Ohio man who then took his own life was just the latest tragic incident in this state with some of the weakest rules on keeping exotic animals. The HSUS has been working for years to strengthen these regulations to protect animal welfare and public safety. In 2009, we named Ohio one of the worst states in the nation for its lax policies on exotics, and our 2010 animal welfare agreement with state officials and agricultural groups included a provision to ban private ownership of dangerous wild animals. We will continue to work to make this a reality in Ohio, as well as in other states.

So many of you wrote in to the blog and on Facebook calling for stronger rules and expressing anger and sadness over the deaths of these animals:

I live in Ohio and am disgusted that Gov. Kasich let the regulation expire. These animals were solely killed because of human selfishness. I believe the police did what they could in the situation they were in and it wasn't an easy decision. This just proves that regulation needs to be stronger FEDERALLY. Wild animals are not pets and this is the most horrible example of what can go wrong when selfish people do what they want at the expense of the animal and their fellow human beings. —Andrea Ferguson Williams

I'm not in favor of big government but a national law regulating or banning the keeping of exotics is needed for the protection of the animals. —Stephen Schroeder

Very sad that they killed all these animals. Private ownership should be not be allowed at all. —Nancy Weise

Indeed, how long will it take before the state and federal governments finally put an end to the nonsensical allowing of anyone with a few square feet of room to keep a dangerous wild animal? …I love all animals, and the thought of having a beautiful and magnificent large one as my personal pet might be pretty intriguing if I didn't know any better. But I do know better: I know that it's cruel and unethical to keep ANY animal in a cage, especially a large wild one. I know that when they escape (which happens all the time) they can injure or kill humans, which inevitably means death for the animal as well. And I know that my own personal desires don't outweigh public safety for my neighbors, nor the basic wrongness of keeping wildlife captive. I just wish everyone else also knew better. —David Bernazani

I just don't understand why they couldn't tranquilize them. Why kill them? They knew those animals were in the area. They allowed them to be there. They should have been prepared for this. It was an accident waiting to happen. —Lisa Grebe

Let's blame the legislation first my animal lover friends. Why was this idiot—not to mention all the others just like him—allowed to keep these animals in the first place? This law and the remaining states that still allow it have to be abolished. I don't agree with the action taken by law enforcement, but those poor creatures shouldn't have been there in the first place… —Dana Sidell

The dangerous ones are the people who have these beautiful wild animals as pets. —Rose Wasche

Samson, your lion, is a glowing example of health, vitality, presence, purity, and genuine beauty. He literally took my breath away when I opened this page. Although the tragedy in Ohio left me speechless, I know you're dialed in to making sure Governor Kasich's feet remain held to the fire. Thank you, HSUS, for your quick reaction on behalf of the 48 exotic creatures who lost their lives in a most tragic fashion–and to the prevention of future animal-related atrocities. —Deborah Gilson

Kasich is going to put up a hotline for people to report their concerns? There were numerous reports on Thompson and nothing was done. I feel like this is all a band-aid or smokescreen by Kasich until the public [uproar] dies down. —Cecelia Ann

I noticed on the map of the U.S. that my own state of Wisconsin has no regulations at all…Which would explain the many caged wild animals on hobby farms and on display at car dealerships and hotels. One makeshift "zoo" living conditions I found to be horrible...however, the main building where the owners were along with their gift shop was gorgeous and air conditioned...while the big cats lay panting out in small wooden boxes to get out of the sun… —Deb Potts

To kill almost 50 animals in cold blood is a travesty and I mourn for those poor creatures who are free now from bondage. We are a very selfish and violent species, worse than the ones who were killed yesterday. —Sandra Barron

Wild animals are not pets, period. —Lily

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