Remember how the Republicans are supposed to be the law-and-order party? That doesn’t apply to laws they don’t like, especially if it’s a law that interferes with making money.

Take for instance, Ohio’s ban on exotic pets. In January of this year, outgoing governor Ted Strickland issued an executive order banning private ownership of any new wild animals and allowed existing exotic pets to be kept only under tough new rules.

Ohio was one of the few states in which private ownership of wild animals as pets was virtually unregulated. Strickland’s action is a step in the right direction, but not nearly enough, as an emergency executive order is only effective for 90 days.

A 90-day ban isn’t really very long, but apparently it is too long for new Ohio governor, Republican John Kasich. While the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is supposed to be enforcing the new policy regarding exotic pets, under Kasich’s orders the ban isn’t being enforced. Why not? Well, according to ODNR spokesperson Laura Jones, “If it was enforced at this very moment, it would hurt small businesses.”

And what kind of small businesses is Jones referring to? Perhaps cheap, trashy roadside zoos where animals are kept in horrible conditions purely for the amusement of paying visitors. Or maybe small businesses like the one operated by Ohio native Sam Mazzola. As Change.org’s Martin Matheny explains, Mazzola’s “core business, as it were, seems to be staging wrestling matches between humans and bears. By his own admission, Mazzola staged over 22,000 such matches, usually of the variety where anybody off the street (or at the bar, more likely) can pay a small fee and win a cash prize if they pin the bear down.”

Are these the type of enterprises John Kasich is so keen to protect?

By not enforcing the ban, Gov. Kasich is putting the profits of animal exploiters above the health and well-being of not only the animals themselves, but humans as well. After all, Strickland’s executive order stemmed in part from someone being killed by one of Sam Mazzola’s bears.

So, take a moment to urge Gov. John Kasich to do the right thing and enforce Ohio’s exotic animal ban.

Photo Credit: Public Domain

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