Department Of Agriculture Outlines Reasons For Seizing Exotic Animals From Toledo Farm

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Former exotic animal owner Michael Weier loves animals.   He converted a room to care for Bonnie & Clyde - his two pet tortoises.  He also used to have a 225 pound alligator named Arnold.  Weier raised Arnold for 13 years without an issue.  He says when Ohio's wild animal law took effect, it required people like him to register their pets and carry expensive insurance.

“We registered Arnold and then we found out it's going to be $3,000 to keep him,” Weier explains.  “I can't do that (per) year.  He may live for 10 years, that's $30,000 - we can't do that!  Are you kidding me?”

Weirer is speaking out against the state's wild and dangerous animal law after a Toledo man had his animals seized by state investigators.  He supports the effort to get those animals back.

The Department of Agriculture says it had good reason to take them.  10TV obtained a letter sent in January to the owner of Tiger Ridge Exotics, where the animals were seized.  It found multiple issues with the facility, including:

  • The owners request for a rescue facility permit was 289 days late.
  • Failure to comply with caging requirements.
  • Investigators found "serious doubts as to the security of the facility."
  • A male lion was found to have medical and nutritional problems.
  • A female lion had died.
  • Water receptacles "had obvious green colored water."
  • Meat provided had a "pungent odor" indicating it was spoiled.

As for Weier, he believes Ohio's wild animal law is intended to do one thing: to end ownership of exotic animals as pets in Ohio.

The state says since its exotic animal law took effect in 2012, it has seized only three animals.  What's unclear is why one judge ordered the animals seized, while another judge in the same county ordered them returned.

A hearing is scheduled in February.