MASSILLON, Ohio - Ohio's new exotic animal law went into effect Wednesday, leaving many up in arms who say housing these animals is about protecting their lives.
In Massillon, Stump Hill Farm spokesperson Tricyn Hunstman said the law could leave many owners in a bind.
"It's going to be a lot of hassle, hardship," she said.
The farm is one of many that could be affected by the new law. Starting on Wednesday, you can't purchase any more exotic animals that are deemed dangerous. Current owners can keep their animals, but must have them registered by January 2014.
"A lot of the talk and speculation about people trying to get rid of the animals, as much as possible. It's really hard to swallow," said Hunstman.
According to the bill, animals like hyenas, elephants, lions, tigers, gray wolves, bears and alligators are dangerous.
Lawmakers said the law took on new urgency after exotic animal owner Terry Thompson released dozens of animals, including lions and tigers, just before he committed suicide. Forty-eight animals had to be killed in order to protect residents.
Stump Hill has more than 250 more exotic animals.
"All of them have been rescued or they have come from rescues," said Huntsman.
Right now, Huntsman said they are trying to get an exemption that allows them to keep caring for the creatures because their animals are rescues and can't function in their natural habitat.
"Every animal has a story and we just take care of them. We give them what they need," she said.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Stark Co. Headlines
Authorities in Portage County have ended the ground search Saturday at the Berlin Lake Wildlife Area for a 45-year-old missing Norton man.
A group of Cleveland Marathon runners honor a Westlake man killed on Put-in-Bay and give hope to others who have lost a loved one.