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 - 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.
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.
A federal judge has upheld Ohio's new restrictions on exotic animals after several owners sued the state over the law.