Ohio Exotic Pet Ban Nears Vote; Quarantine Hearing Postponed

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The fate of the exotic pets released from Terry Thompson's farm in the fall remains undetermined. A quarantine hearing scheduled for March 12 has been postponed by Ohio Department of Agriculture officials, the Associated Press reports. Agency officials reportedly changed the hearing date due to staff changes and the appointment of a new agriculture director.

Here are some facts updates about the Ohio exotic animal quarantine and legal battle to retain ownership.

* State Sen. Troy Balderson plans to introduce exotic pet legislation to the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee this week, the Zanesville Times Recorder reports.

* The bill would bring a ban on dangerous exotic animals. Current exotic pet owners would be able to keep the animals if all new guidelines are followed.

* After the October release of nearly 50 dangerous exotic pets from the Thompson farm near Zanesville, the Columbus Zoo began caring for the animals, the Zanesville Times Recorder reports.

* Marian Thompson, Thompson's widow, initially gave the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium permission to care for the six surviving exotic pets but did not relinquish her legal rights to them, the Associated Press reports.

* Two primates, three leopards and a bear were placed on quarantine at the zoo. A leopard was euthanized after suffering serious injury when stuck by an enclosure door, the Associated Press reports.

* The exotic animals have not yet undergone testing to determine their health status. Zoo officials oppose returning the animals to the widow, according to the Associated Press.

* The Muskingum County Sheriff's Department told the Associated Press the agency spent approximately $8,500 to handle the exotic pet release.

* In addition to the return of the exotic pets, Marian Thompson is engaged in a legal battle for the return of 133 firearms and ammunition seized from the farm, according to the Associated Press. A trial is scheduled for May 7. Her deceased husband was charged with federal weapons violations.

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