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New exotic animals rules to be introduced in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio lawmaker plans Thursday to introduce a proposal to ban new ownership of exotic animals in the state.

State Sen. Troy Balderson's office says the measure would also prohibit people from acquiring additional dangerous wildlife. Zoos, circuses, sanctuaries and research facilities would be exempt.

Owners of lions, tigers and other large animals would be banned in 2014 from keeping the creatures unless they met strict care standards.

Efforts to strengthen Ohio law took on new urgency in October when authorities were forced to kill 48 wild animals — including endangered Bengal tigers — after their suicidal owner freed them from his Zanesville farm.

Celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna had criticized state lawmakers last month for not yet passing new regulations.

A hearing on the bill is planned for Tuesday.

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