Ohio leader questions $3.5 million for exotic animal housing

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Republican leader of the Ohio House is questioning the state's move to spend up to $3.5 million on a facility to temporarily hold dozens of exotic animals confiscated under a new state law.

House Speaker William Batchelder told reporters Wednesday he wasn't sure it's the best solution for the state. He said the House could hold hearings on it.

A state panel has approved money to build the warehouse-type facility in Reynoldsburg, east of Columbus. Ohio's agriculture director told the panel it's critical to start the construction process quickly.

Officials can seize animals if owners don't meet state requirements or are found housing animals without permits.

Republican Senate President Tom Niehaus said he's fully supportive of the plan.

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