Exotic Animal Ban A Step Too Far

Monday, January 17, 2011 - 2:48pm

Wildlife refuges wrestle with implications of new Ohio law.

An executive order issued by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has many exotic animal owners trying to find answers.

The Butternut Farm Wildcat Sanctuary, located near Johnstown, is a nonprofit refuge that provides a home for animals abandoned by their owners.

They have offered education opportunities to groups for several years.

Butternut Farm Director Carol Bohning is against the new ban in part because she says it was developed by an outside agency that doesn't know about the ownership and care that it takes to have animals like these.

Bohning agreed that some regulations are key but said she thinks the ban is too restrictive.

"It can be done with regulations, and there are a lot of regulations in place. But we do need to have the ability to shutdown the people who neglect their animals and don't take care of them," Bohning said.

Evelyn Shaw is a volunteer at the farm and sits on the board of the United States Zoological Association.

She, too, is against the ban and said she thinks that it will hurt the state's economy in the long run.

"We pay a lot of money for vet care, for expenses. You know there are many expenses, and all of that money trickles down to the economy in Ohio. How much do we want to affect that economy," Shaw asked.

Both Shaw and Bohning said they are trying to get a meeting with Governor John Kasich.

They want the voices of Ohio animal owners to be heard, and they want to suggest alternatives to a statewide ban.

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