Exotic animal owners in Ohio appeal court decision

Exotic Animals
AP Photo/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Grahm S. Jones

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Exotic animal owners in Ohio are asking a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision that upheld the state’s restrictions on exotic animals.

The owners sued the state over the regulations, arguing that the law violates their free speech and free association rights.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati court ruled against the owners earlier this month.

Ohio says the rules address animal welfare, public health and public safety concerns associated with private ownership of dangerous wild animals.

The new law requires owners to get a new state-issued permit by Jan. 1 of this year. They also must pass background checks, pay fees, obtain liability insurance or surety bonds and show they can properly contain and care for the animal.

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