Five tigers were seized by the state from the Marion County home, the Columbus Dispatch reports
. That brings us to a total of 96 "exotic animals" taken by state officials since the enactment of a new law last year.
It's unclear why Mike Stapleton, owner of the Paws & Claws Animal Sanctuary, has not complied with state authorities on the matter of the tigers. (He told the Marion Star
that his daughter persuaded him to buy a "bawling bear cub" at an auction in the early 2000s, which led to people essentially gifting him the big cats. He's lauded his place as a safe place for animals.) The Dispatch reports that Stapleton had been given communications and warnings to get onboard with the state's permitting process for the past 18 months.
“I think the bill was set up to deter ownership,” Stapleton said in 2012
. “And the law won’t be enforceable anyway. There are just not enough agents, not enough experts and not enough funding to regulate animal owners.”
The tigers will be held at the Ohio State Department of Agriculture's Exotic Animal Facility in Reynoldsburg until a final, safe destination is identified.
Today's headlines call to mind the 2011 massacre
that resulted after a Zanesville wild animal preserve manager let loose scores of lions and tigers and other "exotic" animals. That event spurred greater urgency for the current law.