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Judge upholds Ohio law on maintaining exotic animals

Property owners and those who maintain property must follow a certain standard of care when it comes to guests and others utilizing the property. This standard of care means keeping the property reasonably safe for those on the premises. Reasonably safe may entail posting warnings for any dangerous or unsafe conditions, it may mean having an inspector come in to survey the property and it may also mean that know hazards need to be fixed. If the standard of care isn't followed, then a person injured on the property may be able to bring a suit against the owner or manager to recover damages.

Unsafe conditions can be anything, from holes or sharp edges or broken stairs or even pets. And this doesn't just refer to cats and dogs. In Ohio, a federal judge recently upheld the state's new restrictions on owning exotic animals. Exotic pet owners had sued the state over the new law. The law requires owner to have animals microchiped so that they can be easily identified if they are ever lost or escape. The law also forces owners to join private associations. A U.S. District Court judge disagreed with the plaintiff's claim that the law violated constitutional rights.

The private associations are there to teach exotic animal owners or how to care for the animals and to keep the public safe as well. It's scary to think that many community residents house potentially dangerous pets without their neighbors knowing. The groups can teach owners to except the unexpected since many times these animals can be unpredictable.

Although the identify chips will help with animals intentionally released or for those who escape, the Ohio law brings to light an important point for pet owners. Ownership of an exotic and potentially dangerous animal comes with its fair share of responsibility and this includes making sure the property is safe from the animals when people are visiting or using the property.

Source: Pocono Record, "Tighten rules on exotic pets," Jan. 8, 2013

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