Hundreds of curiosity-seekers, horse-traders and others have attended an auction of the estate of a suicidal man who released dozens of exotic animals in eastern Ohio almost two years ago.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A federal judge has upheld Ohio's new restrictions on exotic animals after several owners sued the state over the law.
The judge in Columbus ruled Thursday the owners failed to prove constitutional rights were violated.
Seven owners had claimed the law forces them to join private associations with which they disagree and possibly give up their animals without compensation. They also challenged a requirement that animals be implanted with a microchip, which would allow the creatures to be identified if they get lost or escape.
Ohio officials have defended the law as a common sense measure to address the growing public safety problem of private ownership of exotic animals.
State lawmakers passed the tougher restrictions after a suicidal owner released dozens of creatures from his farm in Zanesville last year.
Attorneys for Ohio told a federal appeals court Wednesday that the state's exotic animal law gives owners a pathway to keep the creatures if they choose and doesn't violate their constitutional rights.
Owners of exotic animals in Ohio would be required to meet new caging, safety and caretaking standards under proposed rules slated for review Wednesday by a legislative panel.
The types of animals being held at Ohio's new holding facility for exotic creatures won't be released to the public, mainly to deter anyone from trying to gain access to them, state Agriculture Director David Daniels said Thursday.