Heading into a new year Ohio lawmakers are cracking down on the ownership of exotic animals.
Efforts to strengthen the state's law took on new urgency in October when Muskingum County Sheriff Deputies were forced to kill 48 wild animals after their owner, Terry Thompson, freed them and then committed suicide. State Senator Troy Balderson said the legislation is currently in the hands of the Legislative Service Commission which is working to include recommendations made by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Task Force.
"There are good people out there that are doing this, and they are doing it correctly, they are following the rules, now there are people out there that aren't doing it correctly and are not following the rules," expressed Balderson. "Those are what we want to put in place we want to make rules and regulations that people must follow."
Balderson said as the bill is currently written wild and dangerous animals will be banned for private owners by the year 2014. A decision Balderson is not completely sold on.
"I want to try and do smart legislation here, and I don't want to have reaction to something that has happened here locally in our community," said Balderson. "I understand it's important and my three main priorities are as I said before, one we need to protect our citizens, number two protect the small business owners that are out there that do do this and number three protect the animals we have."
Ohio currently has some of the nation's weakest restrictions on exotic pets. Balderson said the legislation's initial draft should be available for the Governors review some time next week.