State Senator Troy Balderson of Zanesville says he hopes a bill that would ban new ownership of exotic animals will prevent situations such as the one in Muskingum County last year that led to the killing of 48 animals that had been released by their owner Terry Thompson of Kopchak Road. In a prepared statement for a Wednesday hearing on the bill, Balderson says he crafted the proposal after meeting with animal professionals, pet owners and animal welfare groups. He says the goals are to protect the citizens and animals and to preserve the rights of current owners who properly care for exotic animals. This past October Thompson released dozens of lions, tigers and other wild animals before killing himself. Muskingum County Sheriff’s Deputies fatally shot most of the animals to protect residents. State Representative Brian Hill, also of Zanesville, is sponsoring companion legislation on exotic animal ownership in the House of Representatives.