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 is scheduled to begin hearing testimony Monday in a lawsuit involving Ohio's new law regulating dangerous wild animals.
Four owners filed the lawsuit in Columbus federal court last month, contending the restrictions threaten their First Amendment and property rights.
The owners claim the law forces them to join private associations and possibly give up their animals without compensation. They also take issue with a requirement that the animals be implanted with a microchip before they're registered with the state, so the creatures can be identified if they get lost or escape.
The Humane Society of the United States has joined Ohio officials in defending law that it strongly supported. The organization contends it has an interest in the case's outcome because it is pushing similar laws nationwide.
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.