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Limit Ownership Of Exotic Animals

February 14, 2014
By THE INTELLIGENCER , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Certain types of exotic creatures simply should not be kept in captivity by individuals. The consequences of that were demonstrated in 2011 when dozens of animals were freed by a deranged man near Zanesville, Ohio. He killed himself - but sheriff's deputies then had to kill dozens of escaped animals, including lions and tigers, to safeguard the public.

Ohio legislators reacted swiftly to the tragedy. The Buckeye State now has a law restricting ownership of exotic animals.

West Virginia lawmakers seem poised to follow suit. A bill on the subject was approved this week by a committee in the House of Delegates.

The bill would create a special board to determine what types of animals would be restricted. That has some owners of exotics such as reptiles worried. They fear creatures they have kept for years would be outlawed.

Legislators have to start somewhere, however. Both the House and Senate should proceed with the bill, making common-sense changes as they go.

Some limits on ownership of exotic animals are needed in West Virginia, for the good of the creatures themselves and the safety of the public.

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