As Introduced

127th General Assembly
Regular Session
2007-2008
H. B. No. 45


Representative Distel 

Cosponsors: Representatives Brown, Seitz, Fende, Okey, Setzer, Collier, DeGeeter, Harwood, Sayre, Gibbs, Combs, Yuko, Evans, Foley, Webster, Williams, S., Healy 



A BILL
To enact sections 1534.01 to 1534.14 and 1534.99 of the Revised Code to require persons who possess dangerous wild animals or exotic animals to obtain a personal possession permit and to establish requirements regarding the possession and care of dangerous wild animals and exotic animals.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That sections 1534.01, 1534.02, 1534.03, 1534.04, 1534.05, 1534.06, 1534.07, 1534.08, 1534.09, 1534.10, 1534.11, 1534.12, 1534.13, 1534.14, and 1534.99 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 1534.01. As used in this chapter:
(A) "Dangerous reptile" means all of the following:
(1) A species in the family Atractaspidae;
(2) A species in the family Colubridae with rear fangs, including, but not limited to, tree and mangrove snakes, boomslangs, Argentine blackhead snakes, South American false water cobras, montpelier snakes, African grass and sand snakes, keelback snakes, culebra listrada, African tiger snakes, and twig snakes;
(3) A species in the family Elapidae;
(4) A species in the family Helodermatidae;
(5) A species in the family Hydrophiidae;
(6) A species in the family Viperidae;
(7) A species in the order Crocodylia.
(B) "Dangerous wild animal" means a coyote, black bear, mountain lion, wolf, bobcat, or wild boar or a hybrid of such animals.
(C) "Exotic animal" means any of the following animals, including hybrids of them, that due to their inherent nature may be considered dangerous to humans:
(1) A lion;
(2) A tiger;
(3) A cougar;
(4) A leopard;
(5) A serval;
(6) An ocelot;
(7) A nonhuman primate, except a nonhuman primate that provides support or assistance for a mobility impaired person;
(8) A jackal;
(9) A hyena;
(10) A martin;
(11) A coati;
(12) A civet;
(13) A genet;
(14) A mongoose;
(15) A binturong;
(16) An anteater;
(17) An armadillo;
(18) A sloth;
(19) A kangaroo;
(20) A wallaby;
(21) A rhinoceros;
(22) A tapir;
(23) An elephant;
(24) A prairie dog;
(25) A hippopotamus;
(26) A giraffe;
(27) A camel;
(28) A dangerous reptile.
(D) "Humane society" means an organization that is organized under section 1717.05 of the Revised Code.
(E) "Law enforcement agency" means any organization or unit that is comprised of law enforcement officers.
(F) "Possess" means own, keep, harbor, or have in a person's custody.
(G) "Serious physical harm to a person" means any of the following:
(1) Any physical harm that carries a substantial risk of death;
(2) Any physical harm that involves some permanent incapacity, whether partial or total, or that involves some temporary, substantial incapacity;
(3) Any physical harm that involves some permanent disfigurement or that involves some temporary, serious disfigurement;
(4) Any physical harm that involves acute pain of such duration as to result in substantial suffering or that involves any degree of prolonged or intractable pain.
(H) "Veterinarian" means an individual who is licensed under Chapter 4741. of the Revised Code.
(I) "Wildlife sanctuary" means a nonprofit organization as described in section 170 of the "Internal Revenue Code of 1986," 100 Stat. 2085, 26 U.S.C. 170, as amended, that operates a place of refuge where abused, neglected, unwanted, impounded, abandoned, orphaned, or displaced exotic animals are provided care for their lifetime or released back to their natural habitat and, with respect to an animal possessed by the organization, that does not do any of the following:
(1) Use the animal for any type of entertainment;
(2) Sell, trade, or barter the animal or the animal's body parts;
(3) Breed the animal.
Sec. 1534.02. (A) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no person shall possess a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal.
(B) This chapter does not apply to any of the following:
(1) The division of wildlife;
(2) A facility that is an accredited member of the American zoo and aquarium association or that is under mentorship of the association;
(3) An accredited member of the American zoo and aquarium association or an entity that is under mentorship of the association that is conducting educational or other activities with dangerous wild animals or exotic animals outside of the facility that is operated by the member.
(4) A humane society;
(5) A veterinary hospital or clinic;
(6) A wildlife sanctuary;
(7) A research facility as defined in the "Animal Welfare Act of 1966," 80 Stat. 350, 7 U.S.C. 2131, as amended;
(8) A vocational school, college, university, or other educational institution;
(9) A traveling public show or circus that uses dangerous wild animals or exotic animals as an integral part of the show or circus performance and that keeps the animals in this state only during the time period when the traveling public show or circus is performing in this state;
(10) An individual who does not reside in this state and is traveling through this state with a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal, who has the animal confined in a cage at all times, and who is in this state not more than ninety-six hours.
Sec. 1534.03.  (A) No person shall possess a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal on or after the effective date of this section without a personal possession permit issued by the chief of the division of wildlife under section 1534.05 of the Revised Code.
(B) A person who possesses a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal on the effective date of this section shall apply for a personal possession permit not later than ninety days after the effective date of this section. If such a person subsequently is issued a personal possession permit, the person shall not be found guilty of violating this section during the period of time beginning on the effective date of this section until the issuance of the permit.
Sec. 1534.04. (A) An applicant for a personal possession permit shall file an application for a permit with the chief of the division of wildlife on a form provided by the chief. An applicant need apply for only one permit regardless of the number of dangerous wild animals or exotic animals that are possessed by the applicant. The application shall include all of the following:
(1) The name, date of birth, address, and telephone number of the applicant;
(2) If different from the information provided under division (A)(1) of this section, the name, address, and telephone number of the location where each dangerous wild animal or exotic animal will be confined;
(3) A description of each dangerous wild animal or exotic animal, including the scientific name, the name that the applicant has given the animal, the animal's sex, age, color, and weight, and any distinguishing marks or coloration that would aid in the identification of the animal;
(4) Any additional information that the chief determines is necessary to administer and enforce this chapter.
(B) The applicant shall submit with the application a permit fee in an amount established by the chief in rules adopted under section 1534.10 of the Revised Code. If a permit is not issued, the permit fee shall be retained by the chief as payment for the reasonable expense of processing the application. The fee shall be deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the dangerous wild and exotic animals fund created in section 1534.14 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 1534.05. (A) Not later than ninety days after receipt of an application, the chief of the division of wildlife shall issue or deny a personal possession permit. The chief shall issue a permit to an applicant only if all of the following apply:
(1) The applicant is eighteen years of age or older.
(2) The applicant has submitted the permit fee required under division (B) of section 1534.04 of the Revised Code.
(3) The applicant has submitted a complete application that meets the requirements established in section 1534.04 of the Revised Code.
(4) The facility and the conditions in which each dangerous wild animal or exotic animal will be kept are in compliance with this chapter and rules adopted under it.
(5) The applicant has complied with the liability insurance requirements established in section 1534.07 of the Revised Code.
(B)(1) A personal possession permit shall contain all of the following:
(a) The name, date of birth, address, and telephone number of the permit holder;
(b) If different from the information provided under division (B)(1)(a) of this section, the name, address, and telephone number of the location where each of the permit holder's dangerous wild animals or exotic animals will be confined;
(c) The number of dangerous wild animals and exotic animals that are possessed by the permit holder at the time that the permit is issued;
(d) The species of, age of, sex of, and name that the permit holder has given to each dangerous wild animal or exotic animal that is possessed by the permit holder at the time that the permit is issued together with any distinguishing marks or coloration that would aid in the identification of each animal;
(e) The name, address, and telephone number of the veterinarian who provides veterinary care for each dangerous wild animal or exotic animal that is identified on the permit;
(f) Any additional terms, conditions, or information that the chief determines is necessary.
(2) If the information contained in the permit changes, the permit holder promptly shall notify the chief. The chief shall issue a revised permit containing the new information.
(C) Not later than the first day of December of each year, a permit holder shall apply to the chief, on a form provided by the chief, for a renewal of the permit if the holder intends to retain possession of the animal or animals that are identified in the permit. Not later than thirty days after receipt of an application for renewal, the chief shall renew or deny the renewal of the permit. The chief shall renew the permit if the permit holder meets the requirements of this chapter and pays a renewal fee in an amount established by the chief in rules adopted under section 1534.10 of the Revised Code. If a renewal permit is denied, the renewal fee shall be retained by the chief as payment for the reasonable expense of processing the application. The fee shall be deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the dangerous wild and exotic animals fund created in section 1534.14 of the Revised Code.
(D) If the chief denies an application for a permit or a renewal of a permit, the chief shall notify the person of the denial, the grounds for the denial, and the person's right to a hearing under Chapter 119. of the Revised Code. Notwithstanding section 119.12 of the Revised Code, the decision of the court under that section is final and nonappealable.
(E) If a person does not appeal the determination of the chief or if the court affirms the determination of the chief, the person shall do one of the following regarding the dangerous wild animals or exotic animals that are possessed by the person:
(1) Transfer the dangerous wild animals or exotic animals to a humane society, wildlife sanctuary, or facility that is an accredited member of the American zoo and aquarium association;
(2) Have a veterinarian euthanize the dangerous wild animals or exotic animals.
The person is responsible for all costs associated with the transfer or euthanization of the animals.
(F) The chief shall maintain records for each holder of a permit that is issued under this section.
Sec. 1534.06. (A) On and after ninety days after the effective date of this section, the chief of the division of wildlife shall confiscate a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal if the person that possesses the animal does not have a personal possession permit issued under section 1534.05 of the Revised Code or has not submitted an application for a permit under section 1534.04 of the Revised Code. The chief immediately shall send written notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the person stating that the person has five business days after the receipt of the notice to deposit money with the chief in an amount determined by the chief in rules adopted under section 1534.10 of the Revised Code to pay all reasonable expenses expected to be incurred in caring and providing for the dangerous wild animal or exotic animal for ninety days.
(B) After depositing money in accordance with division (A) of this section, the person shall submit an application for a personal possession permit in accordance with section 1534.04 of the Revised Code.
(C) If the chief denies an application for a permit and the person files an appeal pursuant to division (D) of section 1534.05 of the Revised Code that extends beyond the time for which money is required to be deposited under division (A) of this section, the person shall deposit additional money in an amount determined by the chief in rules adopted under section 1534.10 of the Revised Code to pay all reasonable expenses expected to be incurred in caring and providing for the dangerous wild animal or exotic animal for thirty days.
(D) If the chief approves an application for a permit, the chief shall release the confiscated dangerous wild animal or exotic animal to the person. The person immediately shall comply with divisions (A)(1) and (2) of section 1534.04 of the Revised Code.
(E) If the person that possesses a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal that is confiscated under this section does not submit an application for a personal possession permit under section 1534.04 of the Revised Code, if the person that possesses a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal that is confiscated under this section cannot be located by the chief, or if a confiscated animal remains unclaimed for more than fifteen days after its confiscation, the chief shall do one of the following regarding the dangerous wild animal or exotic animal:
(1) Transfer the dangerous wild animal or exotic animal to a humane society, wildlife sanctuary, or facility that is an accredited member of the American zoo and aquarium association;
(2) Transfer the dangerous wild animal or exotic animal to a person who has been issued a personal possession permit under section 1534.05 of the Revised Code;
(3) Have a veterinarian euthanize the dangerous wild animal or exotic animal.
Sec. 1534.07. (A) No person applying for or holding a permit issued under section 1534.05 of the Revised Code shall possess a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal in this state unless the person has obtained and maintains a liability insurance policy with an insurer authorized or approved to write such insurance in this state that covers claims for injury or damage to persons or property caused by such an animal. The policy shall be in an amount of not less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars.
(B) The insurance policy shall not be canceled by the permit holder or the insurer except upon notice to the chief of the division of wildlife by certified mail, return receipt requested. The cancellation shall not be effective prior to thirty days after the chief receives the notice.
Sec. 1534.08. (A) The holder of a permit issued under section 1534.05 of the Revised Code shall do all of the following:
(1) For each dangerous wild animal or exotic animal, comply with the American zoo and aquarium association's husbandry guidelines for animal care and maintenance for that animal;
(2) Comply with rules adopted under section 1534.10 of the Revised Code;
(3) Post and display at intervals of ten feet along the boundary of the property where each dangerous wild animal or exotic animal is confined signs warning the public that a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal is on the property. The signs shall comply with standards established in rules adopted under section 1534.10 of the Revised Code.
(4) Have a plan for the safe recapture of a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal if the animal escapes from the permit holder's control. The permit holder also shall have a plan for the destruction of an escaped dangerous wild animal or exotic animal if the recapture of the animal would endanger the life of the person who is trying to capture the escaped animal.
(5) If a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal escapes from the permit holder's control, immediately inform the nearest wildlife officer employed by the department of natural resources under section 1531.13 of the Revised Code. The permit holder is responsible for all costs associated with the recapture or destruction, if applicable, of the dangerous wild animal or exotic animal.
(6) Keep a log of all dangerous wild animals or exotic animals possessed by the permit holder. The log shall be kept in accordance with rules adopted under section 1534.10 of the Revised Code.
(7) Notify in writing each law enforcement agency and fire department with jurisdiction over the property where the permit holder keeps dangerous wild animals or exotic animals of the species of dangerous wild animals or exotic animals possessed by the permit holder and the number of each species possessed by the permit holder;
(8) Not later than thirty days after receipt of the permit, publish notice of the receipt of the permit in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the permit holder keeps dangerous wild animals or exotic animals. The notice shall include information concerning the species of dangerous wild animals or exotic animals possessed by the permit holder and the number of each species possessed by the permit holder.
(B) No person shall fail to comply with this section.
Sec. 1534.09. If the holder of a permit issued under section 1534.05 of the Revised Code no longer can care for a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal identified in the holder's permit, the permit holder shall notify the chief of the division of wildlife of the permit holder's desire to transfer the animal. The permit holder may submit the name or names of persons who hold a valid personal possession permit and who are determined by the transferring permit holder to have the necessary facilities to care for the animal. The chief shall investigate those persons to verify that they have the necessary facilities to care for the animal and that they are in good standing with the division of wildlife. The chief shall approve or deny the transfer.
If the chief denies the transfer of a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal to another permit holder, or if the transferring permit holder does not request such a transfer, the permit holder shall transfer possession of the animal to a humane society, wildlife sanctuary, or facility that is an accredited member of the American zoo and aquarium association. If that transfer cannot occur, a veterinarian shall euthanize the animal. The permit holder is responsible for all costs associated with the transfer or euthanization of the animal.
Sec. 1534.10. The chief of the division of wildlife shall adopt rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code that do all of the following:
(A) Establish the amount of the fee that must be submitted with an application for a personal possession permit under division (B) of section 1534.04 of the Revised Code. The fee shall not be more than one hundred dollars for each dangerous wild animal or exotic animal identified in an application, but shall not exceed one thousand dollars for each person applying for a permit regardless of the number of dangerous wild animals or exotic animals possessed by the person.
(B) Establish the amount of the renewal fee for a personal possession permit that is required under division (C) of section 1534.05 of the Revised Code;
(C) Establish the amount of money that is required to be deposited under section 1534.06 of the Revised Code. The amount shall be based on the cost of feeding and providing medical care and housing for a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal for each of the time periods specified in that section. The chief shall review the costs on an annual basis.
(D) Establish the content and size of the signs that are required to be posted under division (A)(3) of section 1534.08 of the Revised Code;
(E) Establish requirements regarding perimeter fencing around the primary enclosure facilities that are used to house dangerous wild animals or exotic animals. The rules shall require that perimeter fences be at least eight feet in height for all dangerous wild animals and for those exotic animals that are determined by the chief to be dangerous. For all other exotic animals, the rules shall require perimeter fences to be not less than six feet in height. The rules shall require perimeter fencing to be constructed in a manner that prevents an animal from going through, under, or over the fence in order to function as a secondary containment system should animals escape from the primary enclosure facilities that are used for housing. The rules shall require a perimeter fence to be constructed at least three feet in distance from those primary enclosure facilities. Finally, the rules shall authorize the chief to issue written exemptions from the requirement to install perimeter fencing in any of the following situations with respect to a dangerous wild animal or exotic animal:
(1) If the outside walls of the primary enclosure facility that is used to house the animal are made of sturdy, durable material, such as concrete, wood, metal, or glass and are high enough to and constructed in a manner that restricts ingress and egress by animals and unauthorized persons;
(2) Where the primary enclosure facility that is used to house the animal is protected by an effective natural barrier that restricts ingress and egress by animals and unauthorized persons;
(3) If appropriate alternative security measures are employed;
(4) If the animal that is being housed in the primary enclosure facility does not constitute such a threat to people or other animals that perimeter fencing is necessary.
(F) Establish a requirement that the primary enclosure facility that is used to house a dangerous wild animal or exotic animal be not less than five hundred feet from the property line of the property on which the enclosure facility is located;
(G) Establish the form of and procedures for keeping the log that is required under division (A)(6) of section 1534.08 of the Revised Code;
(H) Establish any other provisions that are necessary to administer and enforce this chapter.
Sec. 1534.11. (A) At least annually, the chief of the division of wildlife or the chief's designee shall inspect each premises concerning which a personal possession permit has been issued under section 1534.05 of the Revised Code in order to determine whether all dangerous wild animals and exotic animals at the premises are being cared for according to the standards and requirements that are specified in or established under this chapter and rules adopted under it. In addition, the chief or the chief's designee may enter any premises where dangerous wild animals or exotic animals are confined in order to determine if the animals are being cared for according to the standards and requirements that are specified in or established under this chapter and rules adopted under it. If refused entry, the chief or the chief's designee may apply for and the court of common pleas having jurisdiction may issue an appropriate warrant.
(B) The chief may suspend or revoke a permit issued under section 1534.05 of the Revised Code after a hearing in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code for any violation of this chapter or any rule adopted under it. If the chief revokes a permit, the dangerous wild animals or exotic animals that are possessed by the permit holder shall be confiscated and transferred to a humane society, wildlife sanctuary, or facility that is an accredited member of the American zoo and aquarium association. If a humane society, wildlife sanctuary, or facility that is an accredited member of the American zoo and aquarium association refuses to accept a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal, a veterinarian shall euthanize the animal. The permit holder is responsible for all costs associated with the transfer or euthanization of the animal.
Sec. 1534.12. No person shall do any of the following:
(A) Allow another person that does not have a permit issued under section 1534.05 of the Revised Code to possess a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal on the person's property;
(B) Tether, leash, or chain a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal outside a cage or allow a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal to roam;
(C) Mistreat, neglect, or abandon a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal or deprive a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal of necessary food, water, shelter, or veterinary care;
(D) Except for visits to a veterinarian or veterinary clinic, bring a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal to a commercial or retail establishment or onto real property owned by, or under the supervision of, a state agency or political subdivision;
(E) Transport a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal in a motor vehicle without keeping the animal in a secured cage or enclosure in the vehicle during the period of transport;
(F) Release a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal into the wild;
(G) Keep a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal in an unsecured environment at any time;
(H) Fail to notify in writing the chief of the division of wildlife, a wildlife sanctuary, or a facility that is an accredited member of the American zoo and aquarium association prior to euthanizing a dangerous wild animal or an exotic animal.
Sec. 1534.13. If the chief of the division of wildlife determines that any person has violated or is violating this chapter, a rule adopted under it, or a term or condition of a permit issued under it, the chief may request in writing that the attorney general, the prosecuting attorney of the county, or the city director of law where the violation has occurred or is occurring bring an action for civil penalties in a court of competent jurisdiction. The court may impose on the person a civil penalty of not less than two hundred dollars and not more than two thousand dollars with respect to each animal concerning which there is a violation of this chapter and for each day of each violation of this chapter, a rule adopted under it, or a term or condition of a permit issued under it.
Money resulting from civil penalties imposed by an action brought under this section shall be credited to the dangerous wild and exotic animals fund created in section 1534.14 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 1534.14. The dangerous wild and exotic animals fund is hereby created in the state treasury. The fund shall consist of fees collected under this chapter and all money resulting from civil penalties imposed pursuant to section 1534.13 of the Revised Code. All money in the fund shall be used to carry out the purposes of this chapter and rules adopted under it.
Sec. 1534.99. (A) Whoever violates this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. However, if the violation results in serious physical harm to a person, whoever violates this chapter is guilty of a felony of the fourth degree.
(B) If a person is convicted of or pleads guilty to a violation of this chapter, the court may order the dangerous wild animal or exotic animal that is the subject of the violation to be euthanized by a veterinarian or an appropriate animal control authority.
(C) A violation of this chapter is a nuisance.