Jack Hanna: Proposed exotic animal law too soft

In this Oct. 19, 2011 file photo obtained by the Associated Press, carcasses lie on the ground at the Muskingum County Animal Farm in Zanesville, Ohio. AP Photo, File

American zookeeper and TV personality Jack Hanna is outraged that Ohio lawmakers haven't passed a bill to control the exotic animal population -- and he's even angrier over a proposed state law that would allow owners to keep these creatures indefinitely.

Hanna told the Columbus Dispatch that he would "no way" support the revised proposal by Ohio state senator Troy Balderson (R).

"If you found someone who had a bomb in their basement, you'd take it away, wouldn't you?" Hanna told the Dispatch. "If a child got killed by a tiger, how long do you think it would take to pass this legislation?"

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Exotic animals in Ohio became a national issue when an owner freed over 50 wild animals on his Zanesville farm and committed suicide. Policed were forced to kill 48 wild animals, including endangered Bengal tigers.

A spotted leopard that was one of the six animals that was able to be captured after the escape was euthanized on Jan. 30, 2012 after it suffered a severe spinal cord injury at the Columbus Zoo.

An Ohio committee set a deadline of Jan. 1, 2014 for people to find new homes for their exotic animals, but Balderson's alleged plan would extend that timeline for several years. The proposal reportedly makes provisions for keeping some of the animals until they die, which Hanna tells the Columbus Dispatch could take 25 to 30 years. However, residents would be barred from purchasing new animals.

According to the Associated Press, Balderson planned on introducing the bill this week, but is holding it because he feels it isn't ready.

Speaking at the Ohio Newspaper Association, Hanna said these exotic creatures aren't a "little issue," but what he called bombs waiting to go off.

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