People truly concerned about the welfare of animals should be thrilled with a federal judge's upholding of Ohio's new restrictions on owning the creatures. The inconvenience claimed by those who sued the state over the laws is nothing compared with the improvements to the health and well-being of the animals - not to mention the safety of the general public - once these rules go into effect.
Everyone who remembers the horror of 48 animals killed while the public held its breath near Zanesville last year will appreciate Ohio's effort to reduce such threats to citizens and animals by requiring owners to obtain new state-issued permits by Jan. 1, 2014. Owners must pass background checks, pay fees, obtain liability insurance or surety bonds, and prove they can properly care for and control exotic animals. Animals must also have microchips implanted to aid in locating them, should they escape.
These are common-sense requirements for those who hope to keep rare and potentially dangerous animals on their property. Surely anyone who genuinely has the best interests of the animals at heart understands these much-needed changes will be only a tiny part of the financial hardship and inconvenience associated with giving them the care and protection they deserve.
If responsible owners of dogs and cats are willing to obtain licenses, pay taxes, get microchips, provide regular veterinary care and abide by laws regarding animal cruelty and public safety, why would owners of animals such as lions and tigers expect not to face even stiffer regulations?
Ohio law enforcement officials will have some work ahead of them to ensure these new laws are obeyed. But anything that will prevent another episode like the one that resulted in the loss of so many animals last year is worth the continued fight.