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Ohio’s Exotic Animal Ban

PIJAC calls on public to oppose Ohio’s exotic animal ban.

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PIJAC is urging members of the public to speak out against a temporary Ohio ban on “dangerous wild animals,” including certain snakes. PIJAC recommends that the state works with the pet industry, animal owners and dealers to formulate a regulatory mechanism that includes a permit system, not a blanket ban. Original ReptileChannel News Article>>

The ban was adopted in early January by then-Gov. Ted Strickland via an emergency executive order. It prevents new private ownership of “dangerous wild animals,” which include big cats, bears, wolves, non-human primates, large constricting and venomous snakes and crocodilians. Individuals who already own such animals are allowed to keep them if they register with the state, but they are barred from breeding or selling the animals. Exemptions are provided for zoos, research facilities and permitted rehabilitation facilities.


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To read the executive order in its entirety, click here.

At the time the emergency executive order was made, then-Gov. Strickland said it was the result of an agreement between the state’s agricultural leaders and the Humane Society of the United States. The agreement had kept the HSUS from undergoing a ballot initiative aimed at imposing new animal welfare standards at farms.

Because the ban was adopted via an emergency executive order, it only has a 90-day lifespan, unless permanently adopted by the state.

New Ohio Gov. John Kasich has postponed the filing of permanent rules to allow for a thorough review and evaluation of the issues involved and provides time for input from all affected parties, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

PIJAC is calling on the public to voice their opposition to the ban in a letter to Gov. Kasich. It contends regulated possession is far more likely to result in driving ownership underground, a result that is not beneficial to the affected animals, responsible owners or the general public’s health and safety.

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PIJAC has offered the following talking points:

If this regulation continues as is, breeders, hobbyists and owners of the listed animals may be forced to go underground with sales and ownership of these animals.

The “grandfather clause” is overly restrictive by prohibiting breeding even for export. What happens to the offspring of gravid reptiles bred months prior to the January 6, 2011 ban date, but are born after that date? In this case, are owners forced to euthanize such animals? Forced disposition of offspring could lead to a biological anomaly. This is just one of the unintended negative consequences of a poorly crafted regulatory mechanism.

Under section (B)(6) of the rule, a person may only sell or transfer these animals to certain institutions, family members or a non-defined out-of-state facility prior to Jan. 6, 2016. What happens after January 6, 2016? Are sales, transfers and/or possession then prohibited? The rule needs more explanation of this issue.

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As for the 72-hour notification required in section (B)(6), does this mean a person only needs to give notice or does a person have to receive actual permission from the department before carrying out a transfer or sale? Waiting for permission from a state agency could take far more than 72 hours. Delays in transfer/sale may not be in the best interest of the animal(s).

Why was the rule designed to prohibit breeding if out-of-state sales are permitted for the next five years?