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Request for Public Comment: Animal Health - 2018 Dangerous Wild Animal Rule Review

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is accepting comments regarding the rules found in Chapter 901:1-4 of the Ohio Administrative Code. The rules in this package have been reviewed pursuant to Chapter 119 of the Revised Code and are being proposed as follows. The comment period will remain open through June 29, 2018. Comments may be emailed to eComments@agri.ohio.gov or mailed to Legal Section, Ohio Department of Agriculture, 8995 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068.

On September 5, 2012, Senate Bill 310 of the 129th General Assembly became effective. Senate Bill 310 was more commonly referred to as the Dangerous Wild Animal and Restricted Snake Act which regulated the possession of dangerous wild animals and restricted snakes in the state of Ohio. Chapter 901:1-4 of the Administrative Code was established pursuant to SB 310. 

The rules in this chapter set forth regulatory requirements to protect the public from the dangers posed by the possession of dangerous wild animals and restricted snakes, as well as to ensure the care for these animals.  The protection includes mandating the use of safe housing, ensuring owners have the requisite knowledge to care for the animals, appropriate recordkeeping, and adequate sanitary conditions to prevent the spread of disease and infection.  The rules have been reviewed pursuant to the five-year rule review requirements and are being proposed as follows:

901:1-4-01 sets out the definitions as used throughout the Chapter. The rule also contains some general provisions of care that are applicable to all animals regulated under this Chapter. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-01.1 establishes the standards for the enclosures for dangerous wild animals (DWA) in general. Separate rules set species specific standards. The rule has been amended to remove the requirement to “provide a quiet birthing area as necessary and appropriate to the species.” This language particularly applies to Wild Animal Propagation permits. This permit is the only type of permit which allows non-sterilized DWAs, and therefore, birth new animals. Anyone who wished to obtain a Wild Animal Propagation permit must have obtained the permit by January 1, 2014. There are no individuals which currently possess a Wild Animal Propagation permit. Therefore, all animals legally possessed in the state of Ohio are sterilized, eliminating the need for the birthing area rule. Further, requirements for cantilever fencing has been clarified to require that if high tension cables are utilized in the enclosure there shall be at least two high-tension cables with a separate electrified top wire

901:1-4-01.2 establishes the standards for food and water for DWA. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-01.3 establishes health standards for DWA, and includes a requirement for a veterinary relationship and scheduled visits. The rule contains a proposed amendment which eliminates the need to appoint a committee to evaluate the control of a dangerous wild animal or restricted snake under the control of the Department. 

901:1-4-02 establishes species care standards for bears. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-03 establishes species care standards for the hyaenidae family. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-04 establishes species care standards for gray wolves and African wild dogs. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-05 establishes species care standards for the Felidae family. This rule has been amended to remove “bobcat” from the rule. Pursuant to a decision by the Tenth Appellate District, “bobcats” are not included in the definition of “dangerous wild animals.” Therefore, the animal has been removed from the rule.

901:1-4-06 establishes species care standards for hippopotamuses, elephants, rhinos, and cape buffalos. The rule has been amended to decrease the amount of time that an elephant may be tethered for. 

901:1-4-07 establishes species care standards for komodo dragons. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-08 establishes species care standards for crocodiles and alligators. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-09 establishes species care standards for nonhuman primates. This rule has been amended to clarify that fencing may be on either side of the vertical posts for the following sub-family species: cercopithecinae, colobinae, hylobatidae, callitrichidae, aotidae, pitheciidae, pitheciinae, atelidae, and atelinae.

901:1-4-10 establishes recordkeeping requirements. The rule has been amended to require that individuals applying for a renewal of their existing permit identify animals not on their original permit. Further, the rule has been amended to require that all records required by 935.15(A) of the Revised Code be submitted to the Department within thirty days of creation.

901:1-4-11 establishes standards of care and safety for use during the transport of DWA. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-12 sets standards for signs as required by statute. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-13 sets the contents, procedures and requirements for the examinations for wildlife shelter permit, wildlife propagation permit, and restricted snake permit applicants with less than two years of experience in the care of the species that are the subject of the permit application. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-14 establishes the requirements for species survival programs to be used by wildlife propagation permit holders. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-15 sets forth the information to be included on rescue facility permits, as well as the criteria for the issuance and denial of such permits. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-16 sets forth the additional information to be required with wildlife shelter and wildlife propagation permit applications. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-17 sets forth the civil penalties for violating this chapter and section 935 of the Revised Code. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-18 provides for the compensation of facilities that are listed by the Director as being eligible to accept dangerous wild animals and restricted snakes. This rule has been proposed as needing no changes.

901:1-4-19 is a new rule which outlines the application process for restricted snake permits, as well as the criteria for the issuance and denial of such permits.