Ohio Exotic Pet Owners Struggle to Comply with New Regulations

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In Ohio, 33 percent of exotic pet owners have failed to comply with rigid new regulations that went into effect January 1, 2014. The law was a response to a bizarre story. In 2011, exotic animal owner Terry Thompson committed suicide after releasing more than 50 animals. Reason TV took a look at how the new law is affecting animal owners last month.

"Exotic Pets Threatened Due to Ohio's Pointless Regulations on Animal Ownership," produced by Tracy Oppenheimer. Approximately 5:30 minutes.

Original release date was March 26, 2014. Original writeup is below.

In 2011, Ohio exotic animal owner Terry Thompson committed suicide after setting over 50 animals loose. No civilians were injured, but the story received widespread media attention and Ohioans called for action. The state responded by passing the Dangerous Animal Act in record time, introducing rigid regulations for all exotic animal owners.

"To focus on this, and this law, as fast as they did and to pass it as fast as they did was nothing but a knee-jerk reaction," says Cyndi Huntsman, president of Stump Hill Farm in Massillon, OH. Hunstman and a few other exotic animal owners banded together to sue the state over the act, and in early March 2014, the court ruled to uphold it.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture told Reason that federal qualifications and requirements are too loose and don't properly manage the ownership of the animals, but Huntsman says that the new state restrictions are keeping neither society nor the exotic animals any safer. She adds that new insurance, veterinary care, and cage requirements make it very difficult for the owners to maintain their animals.

"It's very taxing for the individual," Hunstman says. "It has cost us over $70,000 [to comply]."  The law extends to a variety of animals, including many reptiles and primates, but the one-size-fits-all legislation doesn't differentiate among common sense needs for accomodation.

"You basically need to have the equivalent of a maximum security prison," says Maurice Thompson, director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law. "You need to have a minimum two acre lot no matter what kind of animal it is. It could be for monkeys, and you still need a two acre lot. That same size that applies to monkeys also applies for a tiger, or a rhinocerous."

Yet as the current law stands, owners who can't comply with the regulations will be forced to surrender their animals, and sanctuaries like Stump Hill can only take so many. The Department of Agriculture built a facility in Reynoldsburg, OH to take the remaining animals. It's unclear what will happen to the animals surrendered to the state facility, but Thompson says there is a better way to handle the threat of dangerous animals escaping and wreaking havoc.

"If the animals cause harm or if the animals are even loose and roaming the streets then you throw the book at these people," says Thompson. "Punishment or the prospect of punishment has a deterrence effect, and you have to rely upon the court system rather than over-the-top regulations to accomplish these goals."

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  1. How do they determine which pet owners are exotic?

    1. If they refer to their livelihood as “being a ‘dancer'”.

    2. A Tahitian cat owner maybe?

  2. Is this where I’m supposed to cry into my pillow for people who abduct animals thousands of miles from their homes and throw them in cages (barred or otherwise)?

    1. Terry Thompson operated a small zoo and trained his animals for to be used in Hollywood and fashion shoots. Are you saying that zoos and animal trainers should be illegal?

      1. I’m not sold on zoos and circuses either, especially in the video age. Kids can see what a lion and a komodo dragon look like and behave like just fine without forcing poor animals into captivity.

        OMIGOD won’t someone think of Dunstan Checks In and Kate Moss straddling a rhino naked.

        1. So where does it stop? No cats or dogs in homes? No livestock on farms? Do you have some sort of empirically-based determinate in mind or is it purely arbitrary, based on your own aesthetic tastes?

          1. Domesticated animals are fine. They have a symbiotic relationship with humans. Wild animals, or animals from species the majority of which are wild are another matter.

            I would be inclined to make an exception for animals from critically endangered species, but that’s it.

            1. Your lines are rather arbitrary. Any animal can be “domesticated” if you put enough effort in. They’re not people. You should get that through your thick skull.

              1. There are loads of species that have never been domesticated so I’m not sure how to evaluate the claim that all animals are domesticatible. But in any case there’s a clear distinction between the few species that are born domesticated and those that require domestication during their lives.

                1. Animals are property. It’s that simple. I would never advocate cruelty towards them, but at the end of the day they’re property.

                  1. So you think that human A forcibly preventing human B from torturing human B’s animal makes human A guilty of assault?

                    1. Yes. Next question, genius?

                    2. Thanks for confirming that you’re human only in the genetic sense.

                  2. And then…define cruelty.

                    You can kill them and eat them, but keeping them in a cage is cruel?

                    Can you “put your pet down” using a gun? How about a knife? A club?

                    Killing a giraffe in a zoo is horrible, but swatting flies and stepping on ants on the sidewalk is perfectly acceptable.

                    Animal rights is a huge bag of worms.

                    1. Wanton killing and/or infliction of pain, distress, and/or deprivation of freedom.

                      Putting down a pet is done to prevent suffering and thus is OK. It should be done with a minimum of pain.

                      Intentionally stepping on ants outdoors is reflective of a cruel spirit towards the weak and powerless. I know kids like doing it but they need to be disciplined if they do, if they are going to be civilized adults one day.

                      Killing disease-carrying vermin in one’s house is legitimate, though of course a minimum of pain should be inflicted. Pulling legs off of centipedes is not acceptable.

                    2. Hey sockpuppet, do you consider the vicious putting down of sockpuppets to be cruelty? Because I sure don’t.

                    3. And here come the tough guy threats. Say hi to the cops when they get to your house.

                    4. Seeing as you have no idea where my house is, moron, such statements just make you look more like the moronic sockpuppet you are. You’re extremely boring. I think I’ll go lift now; you’ve become tedious instantaneously.

                    5. Sooo.. then it all boils down to ‘your’ delicate sensibilities? Tell us more of your impeccable moral hygiene…

                    6. So IOW, it’s whatever YOU say it is.

                      Wanton killing and/or infliction of pain, distress, and/or deprivation of freedom.

                      So hunting and fishing are right out.

                      Can I kill for their fur? How about their fins? Teeth?

                      Mice don’t rate as high as Flipper I guess? What about pigeons? Can I indiscriminately kill them? They are disease ridden vermine.

                      So whats worse for humans? Killing them or pulling their arms off? Most would say killing them. But for animals it’s somehow the other way around?

                    7. Depends on what you intend to do with the fur or fins or teeth.

                      It was cool for Lewis and Clark to kill animals for their fur because they needed to avoid freezing to death. It’s not OK for people with plenty of access to effective artificial/plant-based coat materials to kill (or pay others to kill) animals for fur, no.

                      I can’t imagine any situation in which fins or teeth would fulfill a human survival need. If you have a hard time distinguishing between something that’s necessary for survival and something that’s not, you’re likely going to have difficulty with pretty much any moral philosophy.

                    8. Depends on what you intend to do with the fur or fins or teeth.

                      I’m going to either cure cancer with them or I’m going to use them as status-symbol jewelry for my wife. I haven’t decided the purpose yet. So, can I have them?

                    9. They weren’t kidding when they said libertarians are self-centered child-men, were they.

                    10. Hydra|4.27.14 @ 8:07PM|#

                      They weren’t kidding when they said libertarians are self-centered child-men, were they.

                      How so? Explain.. Oh, and.. who is “they“?

                    11. They weren’t kidding when they said libertarians are self-centered child-men, were they.

                      They weren’t kidding when they said that statists move to ad hominems when they can’t argue the point, were they?

                    12. Hydra|4.27.14 @ 2:41PM|#
                      “Wanton killing and/or infliction of pain, distress, and/or deprivation of freedom.”

                      Uh, seems you’re anthropomorphizing here:
                      “Orcas attack gray whales in Monterey Bay”
                      http://blog.sfgate.com/stienst…..22796101=0

                2. the few species that are born domesticated

                  Haha, cute… You do realize that if you let a cat or dog free after they’re born, they become feral, right? You also know that feral is just a fancy term for undomesticated or wild, right?

                  1. They are not feral when they are born, smarty.

                    1. You have zero understanding of animal development. Of course they’re not feral. They’re effectively a blank slate with some instinctual programming. Yes, we’ve selectively bred some animals to alter that instinctual programming, but that has very little to do with whether they are domesticated or not. It simply tweaks the ease with which one can domesticate the animal.

                      We could take any wild animal and do this to them. Recently, people have bred servals with housecats to make domesticatable “wild” cats. You let those F1 or F2 savannahs out into the wild, and they’ll act much more like servals than like housecats. You give them discipline and structure, and they’ll assert their housecat tendancies.

                      Ever seen a hawk or falcon be caught and domesticated? Are those domestic animals? No! They’re fucking wild birds of prey. It just so happens that we can use various techniques to get them to act as we please.

                    2. Yes, we’ve selectively bred some animals to alter that instinctual programming, but that has very little to do with whether they are domesticated or not. It simply tweaks the ease with which one can domesticate the animal.

                      Oh come on! You don’t have to domesticate a dog or a cat. Just feed it and give it water and shelter and it will be domestic. Even a kid with a modicum of responsibility can raise a dog or cat.

                      That doesn’t work too well with tigers and coyotes, for example. Even experienced, professional animal handlers frequently get maimed or killed by the animals they train.

        2. Soo.. Hollywood exploitation of poor animals = good, and zoo exploitation of poor animals = bad?

          1. The second part was meant as sarcasm.

            1. I was hoping that all of it was sarcasm…

    2. Ever see a zebra get disemboweled and eaten alive by a lion?

      The zebra is happier in captivity. Funny how the anti-zoo people seem to only think of the apex predators.

      1. Very interesting attitude for a libertarian. Is protective involuntary captivity good for humans too?

        1. Ever been to prison?

          1. Ever been to prison?

            Turkish or otherwise?

        2. We incarcerate dangerous people so yes. Of course human beings have rights that animals do not so it’s a faulty comparison anyway.

          1. We don’t incarcerate them and claim it’s for their own good, as you claimed for zebras.

            1. Except for “protective custody”, ask convicted cops and judges how they feel about general population lock-up…

        3. Seeing as animals aren’t human, who cares?

          1. Dehumanization is always the first step to tyranny.

            1. Enhumanization is always the first step to Projectionism.

              1. Dehumanization is the wrong word, more like abhumanization. Distancing a group one wishes to oppress/use from humanity.

            2. How can I dehumanize something that isn’t human?

              1. Well… Soylent green is people, sooo… there’s that.

              2. How can I dehumanize something that isn’t human?

                Well, when you’re exposed to dancing, singing, thinking, anthropomorphic animals for your entire childhood, your adult mind projects human traits onto animals that react solely through instinct and conditioning. You have to spend years in therapy to draw the mental distinction between people and animals again.

                1. That’s a good point, I hadn’t really thought about it..

                2. Good point trashmonster, it took a long time for me to stop trying to play and converse with bears and tigers since I grew up with Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. [/sarcasm for those who have no sense of sarcasm]

        4. Hydra, the wild animals you are talking about are not furry people. You are making a false equivalence. A rather obvious and ridiculous one at that.

          1. I guess it should be OK to torture animals too then, since they’re no different from a couch or a printer.

            1. Sooo… A pro zoo position == “OK to torture animals”, is that an official PETA position?

            2. Saying that wild animals are not people is the same as saying they are inanimate objects. Got it.

              All hail Hydra! King of false equivalence!

              Next you are going to tell us that hunting should be banned, that people should buy their meat from the grocery store where meat is made and no animals are harmed.

              1. The people making the false equivalence are those saying that because animals aren’t human, their freedom deserves no respect.

                1. s/false equivalence/false dichotomy/g

                  1. .

                    1. I was going to say Bo…

                      But, what’s the diff?

          2. You can’t possibly know that. Maybe some furries have become such good method actors that we can’t tell the difference.

            Appropriate: “actually my name is Fire-Dash, a pyro-fox from the forest planet.”

            1. I said that wild animals are not people, not that people can’t be wild animals.

              That cartoon is freakin hilarious.

  3. “If the animals cause harm or if the animals are even loose and roaming the streets then you throw the book at these people,” says Thompson.

    These people’s *children*, though –not so much.

  4. Off Topic:
    Cyclists are the biggest assholes on the planet. I can’t believe what I saw this morning.

    1. Perhaps you could elaborate?

    2. As someone who is about to hit the strand to ride to Venice and get samosas and mango lassi at the hole in the wall Indian place in the International Food Court. Do tell.

      1. This coming from the guy who has no game.

        1. That’s hardly relevant, Epi. My bicycle requires no game to ride.

          1. It’s very relevant, jesse. My image of you as the ultra-slut has been shattered. I thought you were just a homo version of me, and it turns out you’re a nerd. I’m crushed. Thanks a lot for destroying my completely ridiculous idea of what you should be.

            1. Eh, you’re only disappointed in me up to 2009. since then I’ve found my slut stride.

              1. I was trying to arrange dinner with Jesse last week, and he wanted to schedule it around when the Lufthansa flight attendants check into the hotel across from his office.

                He knows the schedules of every single flight crew flying into LAX.

                1. He knows the schedules of every single flight crew flying into LAX.

                  This is a lie. Knowing that info would be a waste of time. Turns out the guy I was going to meet up with was in a car accident while coming back from dinner. Had to fly back as a passenger instead of as crew. It was a very disappointing evening.

                  I do know which hotels house which flight crews though.

                  1. I do know which hotels house which flight crews though.

                    My bad, I knew it was something along those lines.

              2. That’s better. Being a slut is the greatest thing any of us can be. And you have the particular opportunity to be a male slut. Which is the best kind of slut. Trust me, I know.

    3. Were they pillaging a village, and raping their cattle? Cyclists do that occasionally here in FL.. We keep a watchful eye on them as they ride through town.

    4. Im in BK and can sympathize. By me the run red lights all the time. Really pisses me off when I have my son with me in his stroller.

      Anyway, what happened?

    5. Let me guess: they were delivering deep-dish “pizzas” with fetus-and-foreskin pepperoni.

      1. Booooo!

    6. I was looking at houses with the family in Palos Verdes this morning, which is a popular destination for cyclists on the the weekend, because there are ocean views, big hills, and winding roads.

      There were hundreds of them out this morning, most in “teams” with uniforms, and some of them were deliberately riding 4 across to block traffic and prove a point. They were shouting at cars that didn’t obey traffic laws down to the last detail, and then they would run every single stop sign.

      Anyway, I was making a right turn, I had the right of way, and one of those Lance Armstrong wanna-be fuckfaces tried to pass me on the right. I slammed on the brakes, and saved this guy’s fucking life. Instead of thanking me, he stopped, dismounted, and started yelling. So I put the car in park and got out, and the guy ran away like a pussy.

      Shit is getting out of hand there, and the residents are starting to rebel. One block of residents, on a really, really steep hill, had the city put in speed bumps. Somebody took the warning sign down in the middle of the night, and a cyclist hit the bumps going over 60mph. He got pretty hurt, and is suing the city….

      1. So I put the car in park and got out, and the guy ran away like a pussy.

        He left his bike?

        1. He pushed his bike away while he was clicking in those lame ass shoes.

          I wasn’t going to chase him. My wife and kids were in the car.

      2. Is this one of those stupid “Critical Mass rides”?

        1. Nope. Just a large concentration of assholes in 1 place.

      3. Ah, you were up in PV. That explains a lot.

        1. I was checking out this place:
          http://www.trulia.com/property…..s-CA-90275

          Nice, but a little bit too long on the commute.

      4. Barking, chasing dogs are a good solution.

      5. “..a cyclist hit the bumps going over 60mph….”

        I would pay good money to see that on video.

        1. According to the local paper, he was airborne for 50 feet, and went through a hedge of rose bushes.

        2. Who said that people who disrespect animal suffering gravitate toward disrespecting human suffering?

          1. It is alleged that poplers are intelligent, and might even have the ability to talk, so should we eat poplers, or not?

          2. “Who said that people who disrespect animal suffering gravitate toward disrespecting human suffering?”

            This was a biker, not a human.

  5. For a while, I thought Hydra was Tulpa, but now I’m not so sure.

    Different species of idiot, I reckon.

    1. It’s clearly some kind of sockpuppet. Is it Tulpa? Who cares?

    2. Hydra- A serpent with many heads. The answer is in plain sight.

      1. Whenever one is cut off, two more arise in its place. I don’t see a Hercules among you.

    3. Yes, different species of idiot.

      It is not uncommon nowadays for people to be born and reared completely isolated from anything wild. Their entire world experience is urban and they relate to everything as if the entire world were that way.

      They think milk and meat comes from the grocery store, that forests are disappearing and they wouldn’t know a wild animal if it ran up and bit them on the ass. They also talk about said animals and plants and even ecosystems as if they have rights. Oddly, these are usually the same people who deny natural rights for humans.

  6. Somebody took the warning sign down in the middle of the night, and a cyclist hit the bumps going over 60mph.

    *outright, prolonged laughter*

    1. Yeah…that sounds like a scene from a comedy movie about living in the ‘burbs or about bicycle culture. What do you want to bet it shows up in a movie sometime in the next ten years?

  7. Who cares?

    Good question.

  8. ClownCar fags are waiting for the rain to stop.

    On a road course.

    How fucking pathetic can they get?

    1. I’m not sure what this means.

      1. I’m fairly certain that it’s not a haiku…

        1. That is to say, I know what a clown car is and what a fag is, but I don’t know what “ClownCar fags” are.

          1. Lots of fags in heavy makeup crammed into a small car?

      2. Its death poetry – Brooks is preparing to go into battle against an overwhelming foe and does not expect to survive so, as a warrior-poet, he leaves us this bit of art to remember him by.

        1. The Late P Brooks|4.27.14 @ 2:57PM|#

          ClownCar fags are waiting for the rain to stop.

          To crush your enemies.

          On a road course.

          To see them driven before you.

          How fucking pathetic can they get?

          To hear the lamenting of the women.

      3. Indy Car.
        They have special cars with special guest passengers, hence clown car.

    2. How fucking pathetic can they get?

      Oh, i dunno, maybe they’ll take 10 minutes to clean up a simple wreck when the timed race is down to 4 minutes left!

  9. Has anyone protested the blackhawks logo?

    1. Perhaps it’s authentic enough to pass muster? As opposed to Chief Wahoo.

    2. This seems appropriate, but is probably not.

    3. That’s AfricanAmericanhawks to you, racist.

    4. Not that authentic, actually.

      Technically Black Hawk was an individual historical person, not a tribe as many believe. So it’s hard to say that putting him in the logo is racist or anything.

  10. Indy Car.

    On the nosey.

    Back from lunch, and they’re still cowering under the umbrellas waiting for the rain to stop. Something tells me those shitboxes have proven to be completely undriveable in the rain, and the powers that be can’t bring themselves to admit it.

    The new era so-called “open wheel” cars are so fucking horrible and ugly it boggles my mind. I have reached the point where I watch the races just to see what sort of clown show they manage to put on.

    “Best drivers in the world” my smelly ass.

    1. Meanwhile you enjoy your low rent NASCAR garbage while you drink that Bud Light in your double-wide and enjoying the company of that he-haw fatty you married.

      1. Sounds awesome… where do I sign up?

    2. It’s downright sad.

      OTOH, have you heard about Jade Gurss’ book on the 94 Penske Mercedes Ilmore engine? It’s called “Beast,” and it looks friggin amazing! It’s coming out this May. I was but a wee lad at the time, but I remember that era of IndyCar fondly.

  11. Maybe I should go put my Volkswagen heads together.

  12. Meanwhile you enjoy your low rent NASCAR garbage while you drink that Bud Light in your double-wide and enjoying the company of that he-haw fatty you married.

    Your Magic Eight Ball needs a tune up.

  13. You have to spend years in therapy to draw the mental distinction between people and animals again.

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