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March 8, 2012

HSUS Statement on Introduction of S.B. 310–The Dangerous Wild Animal Act

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement in response to the dangerous wild animal bill introduced by Ohio State Sen. Troy Balderson, who represents a district that includes Zanesville:

“So many elected officials agree that Ohio needs a comprehensive law to restrict private ownership of dangerous wild animals kept for the pet trade and for certain commercial purposes. We are grateful to Senator Balderson for introducing this important bill, and his measure as written would be a vast improvement for Ohio in terms of animal welfare and public safety.

Unfortunately, this bill has at least two major defects. First, it provides an exemption for private citizens associated with an organization (the so-called Zoological Association of America) that promotes the keeping of dangerous wild animals as pets. Second, it specifically allows people to acquire large constricting snakes as pets.

We understand the logic of allowing current owners to retain their animals, if they obtain permits and insurance and construct enclosures built to a specific standard. But we must stop dangerous wild animals from being acquired. If we want a comprehensive law covering dangerous and exotic animals, we must fortify some portions of this proposal. No more individuals should die or be injured by privately held exotics in Ohio, there should never again be a crisis like the one in Zanesville, and no more powerful wild animals should find their way into someone’s backyard or basement. Large predators belong in the wild, and they don’t make suitable pets.”

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Media Contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440; rcontreras@humanesociety.org

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