Exotic Animals Lawsuit Filed Against The Ohio Department Of Agriculture

An exotic animals lawsuit filed against the state of Ohio comes on the heels of the deadline to register non-traditional pets. The new exotic pets safety standards were finalized after Zanesville area resident Terry Thompson released his menagerie of dangerous animals last year.

The deadline to register pets on the dangerous exotics list was Monday. Marian Thompson, Terry’s widow, submitted the paperwork to register seven animals. She battled against state officials to reclaim the five surviving animals released from the farm in 2011, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Four pet owners filed a federal lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Agriculture and director David Daniels. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court in Columbus on Friday by Robert M. Owens. The filing accused the state of violating his clients’ Constitutional rights by planning to take away the “property” if they do not comply with the new exotic pets law.

The Ohio Dangerous Exotic Pets Act requires owners to implant microchips into the animals, Examiner notes. Owens maintains that such a procedure would pose a health risk to the creatures. The lawsuit asks the court for both preliminary and permanent injunctions to block Ohio from enforcing the dangerous exotics law. Judge George C. Smith is not expected to hear the case until sometime in December.

According to the attorney’s statements, Ohio officials agreed not to prosecute animal owners who neglect to register their pets until a ruling is issued in the case. Wild animals on the state’s restricted list include tigers, lions, and bears. Owners of venomous snakes and all snakes over 12 feet long did not have to register by Monday’s deadline but do have to garner a permit before the law takes effect at the beginning of the year. Those who fail to comply with the law can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor.