56 exotic animals ran wild in Ohio yesterday after their owner let them escape from his property before taking his own life. All but a few were shot and killed by police.
Terry Thompson's personal menagerie included tigers, lions, bears, wolves, leopards, and monkeys. And despite numerous previous complaints and visits from police, his operation was totally legal: Ohio has no regulations on the sale and ownership of exotic animals.
Liz Dumler is a Change.org member and student at Ohio University who worked for a ban on exotic animals in Ohio last year. When she heard about this disaster, she knew that Ohio's lack of regulation had threatened public safety and animal welfare for too long. So she started a petition on Change.org asking Ohio Governor John Kasich to immediately issue an executive order banning exotic animals. Click here to add your name to her petition now.
In the last six years, local authorities visited Thompson's farm nearly 30 times in response to complaints about escaped animals, animal cruelty, and more. Police knew the rare animals were at a huge risk, but there was nothing they could do.
After Liz and other animal advocates fought for a ban, then-Governor Strickland outlawed exotic pets in January. But when the new governor, John Kasich, took office, he purposefully let the ban expire, saying it would "hurt small businesses."
Ohio is one of fewer than 10 states that have no regulations about private ownership of exotic animals. After yesterday's disaster, it should be clear to Governor Kasich that Ohio needs to take exotic animals out of unsafe private collections, for the safety of the animals and the public. And when Ohio moves to protect these animals, other states will soon follow.
Please sign Liz's petition asking Ohio Governor Kasich to immediately take action to ban private ownership of exotic animals in his state:
Thanks for being a change-maker,
- Michael and the Change.org team