WHAT OTHERS SAY: Wildlife laws need to have more teeth

Monday, October 24, 2011 | 3:49 p.m. CDT; updated 7:15 p.m. CDT, Monday, October 24, 2011

Forget the harm done to wild animals when they are owned by individuals. The dangers to other residents was made clear by the bizarre release of dozens of lions, tigers, bears and monkeys last week in Ohio.

Loose regulations permit the auction of wild animals, so the operation was legally run — before the owner released most of the wild animals and killed himself.

The situation outside Zanesville, Ohio, was extraordinary, no doubt. The purposeful release of any animals creates a certain amount of danger to society.

But wild animals, whether in their natural habitat or confined, require special, expert handling. And the government's role is to determine the parameters of certification, expertise and habitat required.

Ohio and other states with loose or absent regulations on obtaining and keeping wildlife are under the microscope now, in the wake of the killing of more than 50 wild animals and the threat to the community.

Copyright Springfield News-Leader. Reprinted with permission.

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