Ban the sale, ownership, and harboring of wild and exotic animals in Ohio
  • Petitioned Gov. John Kasich

This petition was delivered to:

Gov. John Kasich
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Scott Zody
Gov. Kasich's Office
Rob Nichols, Communications

Ban the sale, ownership, and harboring of wild and exotic animals in Ohio

    1. Liz Dumler
    2. Petition by

      Liz Dumler

      Athens, OH

  1.  
  2.   
May 2012

Victory

Ohio used to have some of the weakest regulations for wild and exotic animal ownership in the nation, but after more than 50 animals -- including lions, tigers, leopards, wolves and bears -- were released from a private farm and killed in October, more than 100,000 people joined Ohio native and college student Liz Dumler in asking for stronger laws. The Ohio legislature just passed the Dangerous Wild Animal Act, which bans new ownership of certain exotic animals and places restrictions on current owners. Governor Kasich has given the bill his full support. 

Liz writes: "I am beyond ecstatic that Ohio legislators and Gov. Kasich have come to this decision that significantly improves the lives and safety of both humans and animals in the state of Ohio. This event closes an ugly chapter in Ohio's animal welfare history. I hope that the memories of the Zanesville animals who lost their lives in October will not be forgotten, and that they will continue to be remembered through this legislation. Thank you to all of you who showed your support through Change.org, you definitely made a difference for the lives of animals in Ohio!"

 

After dozens of animals escaped a 73 acre private collection today, October 18, 2011, in Zanesville, Ohio, 48 have been shot dead after their owner died and the gates to their enclosures were opened. These animals, at no fault of their own, have threatened the safety of people and domesticated animals in the surrounding regions and had to pay for this with their lives.

Ohio has some of the most lax regulation of exotic pets, and after this disaster, it is apparent that this lack of regulation has been a threat to public safety and the welfare of the animals for too long. The collection of animals had been considered a bad situation for a quite some time by local law enforcement, but there was nothing that they could do to stop their owner, Terry Thompson, from keeping the animals nor to push preventative measures onto the property.

And these animals aren't the only ones, hundreds of exotics are currently being kept as pets in the state without any regulation. Ohio is one of less than 10 states in the US that do not regulate the ownership of exotic animals. Owning a wild animal is difficult and causes them suffering with a lack of proper knowledge as to the handling and care of these animals by their owners. Wild animals have been known to attack, maim, and kill humans and domesticated animals without any warning and due to these circumstances, law enforcement have no choice but to destroy them.

The best thing we can do for the exotics and ourselves is to keep them in their wild, natural habitats where they belong by outlawing their sale and ownership in Ohio.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. PSA from Big Cat Rescue on exotic animal ownership

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      Check out the YouTube link for a message from Big Cat Rescue on what the public can do to help prevent these tragedies.

    2. Letter to the editor from Born Free USA criticizes Kasich's executive order

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      "Unlike the proactive legislation recently introduced by Ohio Rep. Debbie Phillips, D-Athens, Gov. Kasich still has not committed to the root of the problem — the need to finally prohibit individuals from possessing dangerous exotic animals, and place stringent restrictions on current "owners." In order to prevent yet another exotic animal tragedy from occurring in Ohio, Gov. Kasich must stand firm on safeguarding communities from individuals who currently possess exotics and those who plan on possessing exotics in the future."

    3. State of Ohio intervenes to keep exotic pets in zoo

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      The widow of Terry Thompson wanted to get the six surviving animals back, but state officials denied her request, issuing a quarantine order out of concern for the health of the animals and public safety. Don't those same concerns apply to allowing any privately owned animals like tigers and bears?

    4. Reached 100,000 signatures
    5. Ohio Rep Debbie Phillips has introduced bill to ban exotic animals

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      House Bill 352 bans all future ownership of dangerous exotic animals, including big cats, nonhuman primates, alligators, crocodiles and constricting and/or venomous snakes. The bill also gives the state the authority to add more species to the list. For those who already own exotics, HB 352 requires registration with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and anyone with prior animal cruelty convictions or who have had their license revoked will be prohibited from owning exotic animals.

      Meanwhile the exotic animal task force is meeting to discuss their proposal and whether or not it should include a ban or just regulations. Keep letting Ohio know that you support a ban on private exotic animal ownership!

    6. Draft law limits exotic animal owners

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      The Columbus Dispatch obtained a copy of the exotic animals working group's rough draft of a law to take effect in 2014 that would regulate certain species. But experts continue to push for an emergency executive order banning private ownership of exotic animals before another tragedy occurs. "Tim Harrison, a former Oakwood, Ohio, police officer, firefighter and paramedic who runs Outreach for Animals, said law- enforcement officials he spoke with know of at least 20 people around the state who each own 20 or more unlicensed exotic animals...'These are just the ones we know about.' [Harrison said]."

    7. Local news covers exotic animal ban campaign

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      Dayton Daily News, Middletown Journal, Portsmouth Daily Times and Mix 107.9 have all covered the growing support for Liz's campaign over the past few days.

    8. Born Free USA offers to help Gov. Kasich draft exotic animal legislation

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      “Born Free USA appreciates that Gov. Kasich has spoken to the issue, although we are disappointed that his executive order did not definitively restrict or prohibit ownership of potentially dangerous exotic wild animals. That said, we stand ready to work with his office and the Legislature in the coming month to create the best law possible for the state. We have model legislation to offer and all our expertise to put on the table.”

    9. 90,000 Call on Ohio Governor Not to Delay Exotic Animal Ban

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      There may be fewer than 3,200 tigers left in the wild in the entire world, but you might be surprised at how easy it is to own one of the big cats in Ohio. Or eighteen of them.
      Last week, when Terry Thompson of Zanesville, Ohio opened the cages of...

    10. American Veterinary Medical Association in favor of ban on exotic pets

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      The AVMA issued a reminder to the public that individuals should never own wild and/or exotic animals. Since 2006, an AVMA policy has urged lawmakers to ban private ownership of wild and exotic animals because they pose a significant risk to public health, domestic animals and native ecosystems and species.

    11. UPDATE: Gov. Kasich's Executive Order Doesn't Address Ownership Ban

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      At a press conference today, Gov. Kasich announced an executive order "that will have teeth." While he laid out a plan for enforcing existing laws, such as those against animal cruelty, and set a deadline of Nov 30th for a framework on legislation, he did not address whether or not he supports a ban on exotic animal ownership. Keep signing and sharing so the public support for a ban is clear!

    12. BREAKING NEWS: Gov. Kasich to sign executive order on exotic animals today

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      Details haven't been released yet. Keep the pressure on to ensure that he cracks down on exotic animal ownership with a ban.

    13. This Dish Is Veg urges readers to support the campaign for a ban

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      A photo of one of the few rescued big cats from the Zanesville tragedy is making its way around the internet, including on this posting at This Dish Is Veg.

    14. Reached 75,000 signatures
    15. Legislation proposed to ban private ownership of exotic animals

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      The latest from the Columbus Dispatch on the bill proposed today: "Phillips’ bill, which will includes an emergency clause so it would take effect immediately if passed and signed by the governor, would permit existing owners of exotic animals with federal licenses to keep their animals. However, they would have to register them with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife."

    16. Ohio Animal Tragedy Calls Attention to Loopholes in US Captive Wildlife Law

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      via Scientific American: "This lack of state laws protecting wildlife and exotic animals results in a situation where many states, but especially Ohio, become havens for exotic animal auctions where animals (many of them endangered species) are sold to private collectors and hunting ranches."

    17. Ohio Officials Discussing Exotic Animal Regulations

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      Two Ohio state legislators proposed legislation today that would sharply restrict private ownership of dangerous exotic animals. Gov. Kasich has asked the Zanesville sheriff to join the task force that's been discussing wild animals since April - he now says new rules will be in place within six weeks. Keep the pressure on to get a ban in Ohio, not weak rules that could allow another tragedy like this to happen.

    18. Reached 50,000 signatures
    19. BBC Article "Why wild animals do not make good pets"

      Liz Dumler
      Petition Organizer

      More evidence on why there should be a ban on owning dangerous and wild animals as pets. Wild animals are happiest in the wild!

    20. Reached 30,000 signatures
    21. Thousands to Ohio Governor John Kasich: Outlaw Sale of Exotic Animals

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      The Cleveland Leader publishes story on the campaign: "Thousands of people have joined a breaking campaign on Change.org calling on Ohio Governor John Kasich to ban the sale of exotic animals after over fifty animals escaped from a private Ohio zoo on Wednesday."

    22. Reached 25,000 signatures
    23. Psychology Today blog post from Marc Bekoff: Bloodbath in Ohio

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      Biologist, ethologist and author Marc Bekoff writes about the tragedy in Ohio: "This was surely a preventable tragedy and keeping exotics like these is an accident waiting to happen." Gov. Kasich and ODNR can prevent something like this from happening again by banning exotic pets.

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Carys Corry-Roberts VENETIA, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      I am signing this petition because this tragedy never should have happened. It is completely absurd for average people without any expertise to be able to own wild/exotic animals. As this event has proven, many times it only ends in disaster for the humans and animals.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Veronica Cipolla MARCOS JUAREZ, ARGENTINA
      • over 2 years ago

      Porque los salvajes y peligrosos son los que llevan armas. Recurren a la violencia para dar soluciones porque no le da la materia gris de la cabeza para pensarrrrrr!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Lisa Laidlaw LEWISBURG, TN
      • over 2 years ago

      I certainly will not be traveling to Ohio. There were other options available such as tranquilizers instead of shooting these beautiful animals. This makes me sick.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Donna A LEVITTOWN, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      because wild and exotic animals are NOT pets people!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Sarah Billheimer ASHLAND, OH
      • over 2 years ago

      I live nearby a place that says they are a rescue but they give visitation and put these cats on display.

      The internet had where over the weekend one of these big cats had to have a tooth pulled and zoo people and vets were brought in from all over the country.

      Said it would cost thousands for one tooth.

      WOW.

      Marion Thompson,Terry Thompsons widow went last week and got the rest of the animals left from that tradgedy in Zaneville and took them home.

      They were at the zoo. What better place to be cared for in captivity. We take our children to the zoo all the time.

      Why didnt she just leave them where they could be properly taken care of?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.