Exotic Animal Owners In Ohio Appeal Restrictions

One of the animals taken from a Muskingum county exotic animal farm in 2011. Farm owner Terry Thompson released dozens of other lions, tigers and other animals shortly before committing suicide. The incident pushed state lawmakers to tighten restrictions on owning exotic animals.(Photo: Columbus Zoo)
One of the animals taken from a Muskingum county exotic animal farm in 2011. Farm owner Terry Thompson released dozens of other lions, tigers and other animals shortly before committing suicide. The incident pushed state lawmakers to tighten restrictions on owning exotic animals.(Photo: Columbus Zoo)

Several owners of exotic animals in Ohio are telling a federal appeals court that a new state law unreasonably infringes on their right to keep their creatures.

The owners’ lawyer filed an appeal brief late Friday with the 6th U.S. District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

Attorney Robert Owens says gaining an exemption from the law requires private owners to join a zoological group opposed to their existence.

A federal judge in Columbus upheld the law last year.

U.S. District Court Judge George Smith had said the court recognizes some businesses may be harmed and some owners’ beloved animals may be taken, but the owners failed to prove constitutional rights were violated.

Ohio’s law was enacted following the 2011 release of dozens of wild creatures by a suicidal owner.

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