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 - An attorney for animal owners who are suing over Ohio's new law regulating exotic wildlife says they've reached an agreement with state officials in the case.
Attorney Robert Owens said Monday the state has agreed not to enforce certain provisions of the law until there's a hearing on the lawsuit. For instance, Ohio officials wouldn't refer owners for prosecution if they don't register their animals.
Under the law, owners faced a Monday deadline to register their creatures.
Four owners filed a federal lawsuit on Friday against the state's agriculture department and its director. They claim the law threatens their First Amendment and property rights.
Owens said there's no court order yet because the agreement is still being reviewed.
A state spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit and the agreement.
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.