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 judge has ruled in favor of allowing the Humane Society of the United States to join the state in defending Ohio's new law regulating exotic animals.
Four owners filed a lawsuit in Columbus federal court last month, contending the restrictions threaten their First Amendment and property rights.
The Humane Society argued it has a significant interest in defending the law that it strongly supported, as well as an interest in the lawsuit's outcome because the organization is pushing similar laws nationwide.
Federal Judge George Smith in Columbus on Monday ruled in favor of the group joining the suit.
The animal owners had opposed the move, contending the Humane Society's interests are political, and the group failed to demonstrate how the state wouldn't protect its interests.
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.