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Ohio exotic animal permit needed by end of year

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All owners of the listed exotic animals have until December 31, 2013 at 5pm to apply for a permit through the Ohio Department of Agriculture. All requirements listed in SB310, the permit application and other forms must be complete.

Animals included are all big cats and any smaller cats, such as the serval, bobcat and lynx. Certain primates are also required to have a permit to remain legal. Some species of snakes and alligators or crocodiles have specific requirements for permitting, also.

Be sure to check the list of animals requiring a permit if in question as to one you own. All information is available online or by calling the ODA, Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728-6285 or 800-DWA-OHIO.

The requirements are said to be "reasonable," but are quite expensive, prohibit business, stop breeding and contact with the animals, among other physical changes such as castration of all males. Check thoroughly for required items dispersed throughout all documents as they are not easily found or in list form.

An appeal is still in court awaiting a decision. If you wish to contribute to attorney fees, visit OAAO and scroll to the bottom of the page. Owners do not have the deep pockets of the organizations that worked to pass this bill or the state coffers to pay attorneys. Many animals are at risk of euthanasia, or at the very least, taken from their homes where owners have cared for them with their own funds and given to places that exist solely on donations - if any openings can be found. This is very unlikely since all sanctuaries testified during SB310 hearings that they were unable to take in more animals without funding to cover the expense. It certainly doesn't seem intelligent or responsible to take from those already providing for them on their own, to give them to those exempted from the cost-prohibitive requirements outlined for owners.

The appeal does not currently release anyone from meeting the legal requirements. Check your species of animals and your requirements to remain legal.

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