The Dangerous Wild Animal State Emergency Response Commission is closer to creating a statewide plan on dealing with animal escapes.
Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz is a member of that commission. He said some of the major topics concern who will respond, how incident command will be set up and making sure that everyone is on the same page. Once the commission submits their plan it will be handed over to county Emergency Management Agency Directors.
"They’ll tweak it, twist it, turn it however they need to adapt it to the county level that fits their county," said Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz. "Obviously what works in Muskingum County doesn’t necessarily work in Franklin County."
Local plans will be established by a local commission. Sheriff Lutz said there are guidelines as to who will be on these committees and the state must approve them. He said here they will probably add a representative from the Wilds, since they are experts in animals. There’s also a spot for an exotic animal owner.
"There is a spot for the animal owners to be represented on the boards to have input on how these animals should be handled," said Lutz. "They’ll be a lot of local authority in establishing the guidelines, establishing the response plans and the local authorities will have control over these these incidents as long as they can handle it."
Sheriff Lutz said they hope to have a plan in place by spring. He’s also working with the Department of Agriculture to obtain the list of exotic animals located in our county.