Owners of exotic animals in Ohio must soon start registering their creatures with the state once a new law takes effect on Wednesday.
The state's restrictions on exotic pets have been among the nation's weakest. Efforts to regulate dangerous wildlife took on new urgency last fall, when a suicidal owner released dozens of exotic animals.
The updated law will immediately ban people from buying new lions, leopards or other dangerous animals. Owners will have to register existing wildlife with the Ohio Department of Agriculture by Nov. 5 and show they've inserted a microchip into the creatures in case they escape or get lost.
Current owners could keep their bears, alligators and other beasts by obtaining a new state-issued permit by 2014 and show they can adhere to strict new standards.
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