Rosana Escobar Brown
The recent slaying of about 50 exotic animals in Ohio has animal lovers (like myself) in an uproar. While it is obvious that law enforcement officials needed to protect the safety of local residents and also had to follow orders, images of the grizzly scene beg the question…
How could this have been avoided?
For starters, the Ohio police could have had more than a few tranquilizer guns lying around; especially out there in farm country where loose animals pose a real problem. Ohio even has laws about mandatory reporting obligations when exotic animals escape. Does this mean that whenever receiving a report that an animal is loose, the authorities just show up guns blazing? Something is very off here.
I understand the arguments that tranquilizers take time to have effect and animals might still become enraged or walk off and harm somebody. But then again if residents were ordered to stay inside their homes, then what was the harm of following the animals for a short time when there weren’t any homes for 1000 meters and beyond that the landscape was nothing but rural farmland. With all the officers and pick-up trucks at the scene, they certainly had both the man and vehicle power to get it done.
Although, underlying all of this talk about the incident itself sits the state of the law in Ohio. That exotic, endangered animals are even allowed to be kept as unregistered, unlicensed pets is ludicrous, and the fact that the owner had been repetitively complained about, investigated, and even convicted of animal cruelty without having his animals removed bewilders me. If there is one good thing that comes out of this terrible tragedy, it is that legislation on the issue is likely near and will be supported by the Ohio voting public.
But hey, if we can’t find comfort in possible proposed legislation, perhaps we could take solace in knowing that at least Ohio carrier pidgeons are safe from harm. Sheesh.
 Ohio Code Annotated § 959.18 titled “Prohibition against killing a carrier pidgeon” makes it unlawful to “shoot, kill, maim, entrap, catch, or detain” a marked pidgeon. While the rarest animals on the planet enjoy no protection, at least the flying rodents of New York do. Whew, that’s something Ohio.