State Gives Preview Of Exotic Animal Facility

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The $2.9 million, 20,000 square foot facility will store animals confiscated under Ohio's new exotic animal law.(Photo: Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio)
The $2.9 million, 20,000 square foot facility will store animals confiscated under Ohio's new exotic animal law.(Photo: Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio)

A state agency on Thursday took reporters to a place where few people have been – and even fewer will go in the future.

The exotic animals facility in Reynoldsburg was custom-built from the ground up – there was no template or model to base it on. Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels says the building the agency ended up with is flexible in its design and secure in its operations.

“This building is about 20,000 square feet. We have 30 large animal enclosures here. We have four primate enclosures. We have a room here that will house snakes and reptiles when that regulatory authority kicks in,” Daniels says.

The big animal cages are made of six gauge wire and have six padlocks each. A transport cage is locked into place against the cage opening to move the animal in. There are heavy steel panels separating the cages that can be opened from outside them, so an animal can be moved to the adjacent cage while its cage is cleaned and food and water is provided.

A cage must be closed and locked before another can be opened, and never is a caretaker and an animal inside a cage at the same time.

Daniels says if an animal would get out of its cage, there are 17 cameras and motion sensors that monitor the cages and take and send pictures to staff if there’s movement. Then there are gated locked doors inside the rooms and in the main area, and there are two exterior fences, the taller one 12 feet tall and electrified.

But Daniels says all that security isn’t just for the animals.

We are just as concerned about what’s in this building as what is outside this building. We want to make sure that there are, hate to say it, but while we’re worried about an animal getting out, we’re also worried about people getting in.

No animal will ever go outside. But the facility is climate controlled and has warm and cooler areas in each of the bigger enclosures.

There’s room to add some more cages if necessary, but the thought is that the facility will only be needed for around 10-15 years, because Ohio’s new exotic animals law bans new ownership of animals. Current owners will be able to keep their animals but not get new ones, and have to meet state standards for containing them or state veterinarian Tony Forshey says the state can take them and bring them here.

This is not a zoo. It’s more like a humane society or a rescue-type facility and so it’s for the temporary housing. It’s our intent to bring these animals in, give them the best care, make sure they’re healthy.

And Daniels restates that very clearly – it’s not a zoo, it’s a holding place for animals that have been seized or are in the process of being transferred out of state.

“This is a facility that we have to aid us in our regulatory responsibility over animals that are not permitted or are not cared for. When this is all said and done, I will not have access to this building. This will only be accessed to those who need to be back here,” Daniels says.

And Daniels also says there will be no public announcements when animals arrive at the facility – only law enforcement will be notified, Daniels says, to protect curious residents from trying to get inside to see them. The legislature allowed $3.5 million dollars to build the facility.

Daniels says it’s not completely done, but the contract guaranteed the building would cost $2.9 million. Until there are animals in it, Daniels says it’s impossible to estimate the daily operations cost.

Comments
  • Julie Kinney

    APALLING

  • caroledwards1

    Sounds like an animal prison!!!! Why can’t you just leave the poor animals with the owners that love them and take care of them instead of rotting away in this priison?

    • teriG

      Worse. Prisoners at least get to go outside for recreation.

      • c8 the gr8

        An hour a day perhaps. All subject to change in the future.

    • guest

      Apparently the government won’t be happy until they take everything away or kill everything.

      Oh, and eliminate all of our rights.

      BTW, Ohio ISN’T issuing permits, they’re making it impossible to obtain, so pretty much everyone will lose their beloved, well cared for pets.

    • kim bunchalastnames

      are you people serious? here’s why, for starters:
      http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?more=1&p=439
      it’s my understanding that this is a holding place for exotic animals who’ve been subjected to attempts to make “pets” of them, as if you could tame a wolf or a tiger or even a fully mature chimpanzee, and that, from here, they’ll be sent to responsible zoos or sanctuaries, which is the best end they could hope for, if they could hope at all. and if you people are from ohio — have you already forgotten zanesville? because the owner released his animals before committing suicide, he doomed them. there was no way the state of ohio could have brought in experts to dart and sedate these wild animals before they had caused damage or, worse, killed a child. so these poor, majestic creatures were hunted down and killed.

      anyone who decides to own an exotic, wild predator needs to sit back and take a long look at his or her own motives — as the act is not of benefit to the animal, in any circumstance, but merely another disrespectful attempt by our species to subjugate another and show off that domination. please. there are plenty of animals with whom we can live and flourish. if you love wild creatures, prove it — by allowing them to live in the wild, and by working with organizations like the nature conservancy and the world wildlife fund.

      • Deb

        Ok so what about the other exotic owner that accrual lay do take care of their animals? No one can forget Zanesville, but open your eyes bc there are owners of exotic animals that love and take care of tier animals very well. You’re one of those people that think the government should take over everything I’m sure. It’s not ok for anyone to take any animals away if they are being taken care of. You’re not being open minded. Think about what you say an actually research things a little. I’m from ohio and I back exotic pet owner that know how to are for their animals. Zanesville wasn’t every other exotic owners fault. Think before you speak.

        • kim bunchalastnames

          your ad hominen tone and appeal to probability (i.e., that i’m all for big government) indicates that you don’t really want to debate the issue, and yet you chide ME for being close-minded. still, i’ll give it another whirl, having thought long and hard about this subject, and conducted much research into it, despite and prior to your suppositions. i’m a sponsor of the Big Cat Rescue foundation, the Nature Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund, among others, for good reason.

          you state “I’m from ohio and I back exotic pet owner that know how to are for their animals. Zanesville wasn’t every other exotic owners fault.” no, it wasn’t. most exotic pet owners think they’re doing a wonderful thing for the animals they love, and most of them, i’m sure, truly do love them. (i’m resisting the urge to break into a chorus of “if you love something, let it go” here.) zanesville was the fault of the state of ohio, for having sloppy laws about wildlife ownership, at best, and laws which enable cruelty, at worst. the zanesville man whose story had such a tragic end would never have happened, for instance, in california.

          i’m sure your passion for exotic pet ownership is because you love animals, like i do. isn’t it odd that we can both love the same thing so strongly, yet be on opposing sides of this issue?

          if you can be open-minded on the issue, i urge you to read this: http://bigcatrescue.org/about/our-evolution/

      • Donita Clark

        You are obviously as uneducated as the government officials that are doing this……..these animals are very well taken care of by individuals that live with them 24 hours a 365 days a year…………And I feel sorry for you are anyone that if ignorant enough to believe the man in Zanesville commited suicide much less let his own animals out……..Maybe you need to read the autopsy report…………..Bottom Line is Animal Rights Activists are getting these laws passed because what they want in the end is for no one to have a peice of meat on their plate or a pet………..Just tell me how we will be abl to feed Americans and where will the people have jobs that lose their jobs because of no animals?????? Wake up we get most of our Veggies and fruits from other countries as it is. The United States is a very sad sick country for allowing Animal Rights Activists to get all these laaws passed.

        • kim bunchalastnames

          yet another ad hominem approach. apparently, i’m mistaken — not in my opinion, but in my attempt to discuss it rationally with you people. you’re NUTS.

          • Donita Clark

            Kim, I am not into calling names…….what I stated was true………and how the heck can you say you love animals as much as we do when you are supporting some of the largest Animal Rights Activists???? Some kids are born to parents with no home and some to parents in a 200 sq ft apartment and some are born in the slums and gettos………a few are born into weathy families with large homes and everything at their figure tips………however I would bet that more really good people come from the lowest in society………until you personally take care of some of these animals as your own with your own money 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year you can not possibly love animas the way we private owners do nor can you possibly understand them…….you do not have to have a large environment for a child or an animal to take great care of it……..to love it and it love

            you……Chief Dan George said the following “If
            you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each
            other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them, and what you
            do not know you fear. What one fears one destroys.” These animals do not have land to go to……if we do not care for them in private care they will be extinct and the ones that do live you apparently think it is ok for them to live in prisons with no troop and never seeing the sunshine or feeling the love of their troop…….we are their troop……we go by their guidelines and rules not ours……….we do without so they can have the best we can give them……..and you do not have to be with your birth family or your same speicies to be a troop………we as humans and havng dogs, cats, etc have proved that since the beginning of time…………so please educate yourself instead of lowering yourself to calling the rest of us names.

          • kim bunchalastnames

            you’re “not into calling names,” but in your first response to me, you said i was “obviously uneducated” and “ignorant.” because i have the temerity to disagree with you. that high horse you’re on is standing on some mighty small moral ground — but that’s okay; it doesn’t need room to move as long as you love it.

            by the way, what you stated was your OPINION. it’s not true simply because you believe it. and (as i said above) neither is mine. i may be wrong. i don’t think i am, but i may be. as far as the 24/7/365 you’ve specified: you’re right, i haven’t done so. i HAVE, however, donated quite a bit of money to those who do at Big Cat Rescue, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Nature Conservancy — and the people at those organizations believe as i do. once again, i’ll refer you and others who believe as you do to their websites. their experiences, i think, trump yours by a hundredfold.

            finally, since you question my education (and uninformed assumptions certainly don’t strengthen your arguments), i’ve studied the issues involved at length. i had to, in order to write the materials that i was hired by the Nature Conservancy to create — the ones about what happens behind the scenes in the exotic animal trade, about the horrors of their living conditions and the fact of their injuries and deaths (not opinions, but facts). about the range a tiger, say, needs to satisfy his or her instinctive territorialism. about ALL the things they need that can’t be supplied by a human and a cage and a dogrun in a backyard. but you don’t want to hear about THAT: after all, those things fall under the category of that horrible “animal rights activism” … such an AWUL thing.

          • Donita Clark

            Once again you are totally ignorant and uneducated……writing and reading books and running a sanctuary or zoo where mostly the volunteers interact with the animals and NOT 24/7/365 like private owners you know nothing……..UNITIL you live, eat and breathe every day 24 hours a day with these animals you are not an Expert about anything but your name on an article or book or Board of Directors is what makes you think you know so much. I am not and no one ever will be an expert because the longer you live with them the more you learn……..I want to hear from you when there are no more pets, no more meat to eat and there are no more therapy animals or companion animals to make a humans world worth living……….my husband is a Navy Vietnam Veteran who was willing to give his life for you to have the freedom to speech that teaches such ignorance……..my husband is alive and walking today due to four little monkeys who are his Companion/Therapy animals…..deemed so by a Civilian Doctor and a VA Doctor……….when my sister was dying of cancer one of these same monkeys came to me and pulled my head to her chest and stood there quietly and I was finally able to cry out my grief because she understood ……..there have been many of these occassions ………..they have given and loved us as much or more than we are capable of and I will not sit back and shut up because not only do I have the freedom of speech to do so but because I owe it to every animal to stand up for them………they love their families even though we do not look like them……they do not care how we look or what our status in life is but they do understand and love us so it is our duty to stand up and shout to the worlld what Animal RIghts Activists are doing…….PETA has killed approx. 90% of the animals they have taken in and HSUS has spent less than 1% of the money they have taken in on animals………They want them all dead and you are spending your money to help them do it…….wake up and realize the harm you and they are doing.

          • kim bunchalastnames

            where did you get the idea that i supported PETA? i never said so; in fact, i despise PETA. and here’s another thing to stuff down your craw, because i’ve had it with you and the ignorance YOU wave around like it’s a flag to be proud of: don’t lecture me on the military, sweetheart, because my entire FAMILY is military; the only branch of service we’re NOT in is the coast guard.

            once again, you blithely make assumptions and fly off the handle, spouting off all over the place without ever slowing down long enough even begin to try to have a decent conversation. the points i’ve tried to make have gone over your tiny little head like a trapeze act. go put a badge on for winning some battle you think you’ve waged here, when you never even engaged an opponent. i’m out.

      • Nikki

        Really because they still shot and killed all of the animals. :( Why not just change the type of gun and sedate them instead. Then all of these beautiful animals would not have died.

      • research

        ya ok hon,,, research the murder in Zanesville,,, go to gw exotics and see what things about,, research Zanesville and you will see the truth,,, he did not kill himself, these animas know and love their owner a well as their owners love them I know if you try to take some monkeys from their owners they hang on for dear life because they love their owners and don’t want to b separated

        • kim bunchalastnames

          … gw exotics. the roadside attraction. the FOR PROFIT roadside attraction that, in october, had an employee severely mauled by a tiger. the same “petting zoo” that the humane society has condemned after an undercover investigation. sure, you betcha. believe a for-profit over a non-profit if you choose. by the way, that tinfoil hat looks good on ya.

  • Cheryl

    Very sad facility!!!

  • guest

    disgusting

  • Turkey Lady

    Hmmm… and they are suppose to be helping these animals??? Well for one thing I happen to know a few exotic animal owners that are struggling to figure out what they can do to save their beloved pets from going to this facility. The animals that they are taking care of are happy and very healthy. They are treated like family members and they are going to have to give them up because the state is mandating they have to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade their pen sizes. These people are allready FDA approved to keep these animals and are passing their inspections. I can’t believe the audasity that the state has to just jump in take their pets away without even considering each individuals situation and then to place them in a place like this where they have no outside privledges or love!!!! It’s downright SICKENING!!! All over one incident that is still being investigated and as far as I’m concerned and many others was not done by the owner himself. I have seen animals taken from their place they call home and put into a scary situation like this. They don’t do well and will stop eating and die, this is just a very very poor judgement of the State of Ohio. I hope all you exotic animals owners who loose your pets pool together and sue the pants off your state for the deaths of your animals….

  • Macaquemom2

    Wow at least prisoners have outdoor privileges !! This place is terrible !!

  • Barb

    Every time the Government gets involved in something, they destroy it!! Apparently, they don’t have anything to do but stick their nose in things best left alone. They have no feelings for these animals. Exotics do not re-home very well and to remove them from owners that they love and who love them is just plain cruel. The animals will suffer emotionally as well as physical decline.

  • Baloney Missile

    Is there even a definition of “exotic animal”? Would the State of Ohio take away an F3 Bengal that is not yet considered a domestic animal, but by all means acts like one and does not require “special care”? The facility looks pristine, but it is very VERY concerning that animals are not allowed outside at all. Whoever designed this facility obviously doesn’t care at all about the well being of those house there or else there would be outside runs. And what happens if the animal cannot be transferred out of state? Looks like mostly a holding facility with intent to kill. The State of Ohio really needs to look at each situation individually. If someone houses exotic animals and is USDA licensed and has no complaints or violations against them – really, who are they to take these animals away? How many more layers of government can our “leaders” possibly come up with to make everyone’s life as miserable as possible? What’s next? Individual cities coming up with even more stringent regulations that trump those of the USDA and the State of Ohio? Don’t get me wrong – a Tiger is not a pet and that I can see. But an Asian Leopard Cat for example is NOT a threat to the public at large. They will not attack a human – they just take off and run. So really – State of Ohio – what’s the point here?

  • c8 the gr8

    What a sad facility. Do you think it will be only for animals? Rather sounds like a blueprint for the new prison industrial complex.

  • Michael Mayo

    Looks more like a jail. I love how the state just assumes they can seize animals without a court order. This police state just continues to spiral out of control.

  • Donita Clark

    To: kim bunchalastnames

    Kim, I am not into calling
    names…….what I stated was true………and how the heck can you say
    you love animals as much as we do when you are supporting some of the
    largest Animal Rights Activists???? Some kids are born to parents with
    no home and some to parents in a 200 sq ft apartment and some are born
    in the slums and gettos………a few are born into weathy families with
    large homes and everything at their figure tips………however I would
    bet that more really good people come from the lowest in
    society………until you personally take care of some of these animals
    as your own with your own money 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a
    year you can not possibly love animas the way we private owners do nor
    can you possibly understand them…….you do not have to have a large
    environment for a child or an animal to take great care of it……..to
    love it and it love you……Chief Dan George said the following “If
    you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each
    other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them, and what you
    do
    not know you fear. What one fears one destroys.” These animals do not
    have land to go to……if we do not care for them in private care they
    will be extinct and the ones that do live you apparently think it is ok
    for them to live in prisons with no troop and never seeing the sunshine
    or feeling the love of their troop…….we are their troop……we go
    by their guidelines and rules not ours……….we do without so they
    can have the best we can give them……..and you do not have to be with
    your birth family or your same speicies to be a troop………we as
    humans and havng dogs, cats, etc have proved that since the beginning of
    time…………so please educate yourself instead of lowering yourself
    to calling the rest of us names.

  • Donita Clark

    Look up the word NATIVE……it means where you were born…….all of
    these privately owned animals were born in the United States by USDA
    Licensed Breeders to breed and sell these animals……….they are
    NATIVE to this country now……..we buy them LEGALLY and TAKE GREAT
    CARE of them……then some government officials who do not know much
    less understand anything about these animals comes in and passes such
    HORRID Laws………All the while these government officials are getting
    their pocket books padded by the Animal Rights Activists who are
    actually considered Domestic Terrorists by Federal Law.

  • TheProtector

    they are never going to be outside????? what kind of set up is that??? that is unhealthy for any animal, human or otherwise!!!!! this is nothing but a modern day concentration camp. at least those prisoners were allowed outside! come on, this is the most inhumane thing i have seen in a long time

  • Nikki

    This is a prison :(

  • Tia

    it appears to me, that for those animals “rescued”…..this a step sideways, at best! Have you ever seen anything more depressing looking than this? If the people running this only confiscated the absolute, most desperate cases, It would be useful. BUT, we all know, that it won’t go down that way! They will also take well loved, well cared for animals, and put them in here too! This just infuriates me so much!

  • Cathy Cee

    It’s more like a humane society??? Why would that be a good thing?

  • Cathy Cee

    This came about because 1 person lost his mind. That doesn’t mean everyone else will do so too. This is just another case of Ohio government over reacting.

  • Tammy Lopez

    This is such bullshit. The animals will never go outside!!! The state will take them away from their homes and put them here for a better life???

  • exotic_animal_lover

    They need to stop this with theses animals they are better off with there owner instead of the custody of state of Ohio they get caged with no light or sun but these guys and woman in prison for kill or harming someone gets treated like kings while these beautiful animals get treated very badly how fair is this oh wait one crazy person does something and the rest of Ohio pays for it right that’s right thing to do OK I have heard everything so if you want to take these animals away from the only home they have known is better right not OK for one day I think these state reps need to be put in a cage like they want to do these animals and see how they feel oh that’s right they can’t get there designer suits dirty or there fancy desk chairs in there with them I think the state if Ohio need to think about this before doing it

  • Tiger Ridge Exotics

    This is upsetting… That’s not helping the animals, that’s basically putting them in jail…

  • Nancy Simler

    Looks more like they are going to be put in a puppy mill, never to see the light of day again. Terrible. Same thing should happen to the politicians.