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ASPCA Urges Ohio Governor to Issue Emergency Order Banning Exotic Pets

October 19, 2011

NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is calling on Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to immediately issue an emergency order restricting the sale and possession of exotic animals following the horrific incident today in which dozens of animals were killed after escaping from a Zanesville, Ohio, property. Ohio is currently one of only eight states that does not regulate private ownership of exotic animals.

"We urge Gov. Kasich to issue an emergency order to ensure the safety of Ohio residents, as well as the health and well-being of exotic animals kept as pets," said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. "This tragic incident may well have been avoided had the previous emergency order issued by former Gov. Ted Strickland not been permitted to expire in April."

Perry added, "While the animals pay the ultimate price, local governments and taxpayers are left to bear the enormous fiscal burden when dangerous wild animals are set loose or escape, or when they are seized due to neglect."

The exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry that contributes to the suffering of millions of animals, often threatening public health and safety, disrupting ecosystems and driving species to endangerment and extinction. Each year across the nation, countless numbers of exotic animals are purchased as pets at retail stores and from private breeders and dealers at auctions or over the Internet. Since the vast majority of people who keep exotic animals cannot meet their needs, the animals often become the victims of abuse and neglect--they are caged, chained, tranquilized or even beaten into submission.

For more information about the exotic pet trade, please visit www.aspca.org.