Ohio senator says exotic pet rules aim to protect

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A state legislator says he hopes a bill that would ban new ownership of exotic pets will prevent situations such as the one in eastern Ohio last year that led to the killing of 48 animals freed by their owner.

In a prepared statement for a Wednesday hearing on the bill, Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson says he crafted the proposal after meeting with animal professionals, pet owners and animal welfare groups.

He says the goals are to protect citizens and animals and to preserve the rights of current owners who properly care for exotic pets.

Balderson is from Zanesville, near the farm where a man released dozens of lions, tigers and other wild animals before killing himself in October. Authorities fatally shot most of the pets to protect residents.