Ohio's Dangerous Animal Registration Begins

A new state law requires owners to file signed registration forms with the state and to have the animals microchipped.

Ohio owners of certain animals and snakes judged to be dangerous by a new state law must complete and sign a registration form for them and return it to the Ohio Department of Agriculture by Nov. 5. The department announced Sept. 4 that the forms are now available online; Gov. John Kasich signed the bill creating this new requirement on June 5.

The law was passed after the October 2011 release of numerous animals from a preserve in Zanesville by its owner, but Kasich had appointed a team to explore new exotic animal laws before that incident occurred.

The department's list of animals covered by the law includes alligators, crocodiles, lions, tigers, jaguars, bears, elephants, Komodo dragons, and several species of anacondas and pythons. Owners must register them and have them microchipped at the time of registration.

Owners of a venomous snake also are required to have access to anti-venom for each species of snake at the location where each snake is confined or at a hospital, and they must submit proof of having access to the anti-venom and a list of each species of venomous snake to local law enforcement officers. The owner of a venomous snake is liable for all costs associated with treatment of a bite.

The law took effect Sept. 5. It prohibits anyone from:

  • Selling or offering for sale at auction a dangerous wild animal or a venomous snake
  • Knowingly removing a microchip that is implanted in a dangerous wild animal
  • Allowing a dangerous wild animal or restricted snake to roam off the property where it is confined
  • Removing any teeth or claws from a dangerous wild animal or restricted snake
  • Failing to comply with signage requirements
  • Knowingly releasing a dangerous wild animal or restricted snake into the wild

After Jan. 1, 2014, possessing dangerous wild animals and restricted snakes will be prohibited unless the individual is exempted under the bill or has been issued a permit by the department. The available permits include ones for wildlife shelters, wildlife propagation, and rescue facilities.

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