April 28, 2020 | Ohio Law
Ohio has an extensive list of wild animals that are banned as pets. Even though Ohio has some of the strictest laws regarding ownership of exotic animals as pets, sloths are actually not on the list.
However, just because you can own a sloth in Ohio does not mean that you should. Sloths are wild animals and are not considered good pets.
Why Are Sloths Not Good Pets?
Sloths are tree-dwelling mammals that live in the rainforests of South and Central America. They sleep about 15 to 18 hours a day. Some sloths stay in the same tree for years.
The average life span of a sloth is 20 to 30 years. They are solitary animals that may only interact with other sloths during breeding. Even though the sloth is the worlds’ slowest mammal, it is not lazy.
Because sloths sleep for most of the day and are not sociable, they do not make good pets. They have a highly specific diet that could make it difficult for a civilian to feed their pet sloth.
It can also be challenging to find a local veterinarian who is willing to provide care for a sloth. Owners may need to seek out specialized care for their sloths, which could be costly. Since sloths live for up to 30 years, the financial investment over the sloth’s lifetime could be substantial.
Tragic Event Leads to New Wild Animal Laws in Ohio
Lawmakers in Ohio began working on strict wild animal laws after a man in Zanesville released roughly 50 exotic animals before killing himself. Animals released included lions, Bengal tigers, black bears, wolves, grizzlies, and a baboon.
The police were forced to put down most of the animals to prevent a catastrophe. It was a tragic event that resulted in lawmakers strengthening laws to prevent individuals from keeping wild animals as pets.
Ohio Laws for Exotic Animals
Ohio enacted strict wild animal laws regarding ownership of certain animals by private individuals. The law prohibits a person from owning, selling, trading, or offering for sale a dangerous wild animal. A pet owner might keep some animals on the list if the person owned the animal before the law took effect and obtained a permit from the state.
The law also prohibits the owner of a dangerous wild animal from allowing the animal to roam off the property. It is unlawful to knowingly release a dangerous wild animal into the wild or removing a microchip that is implanted in a dangerous wild animal.
The restrictions on wild animal ownership in Ohio does not apply to certain organizations, such as zoos, research facilities, and some educational institutions. However, organizations must follow all laws regarding maintaining a wild animal or exotic animal in Ohio.
The list animals that are considered “dangerous wild animals” include, but are not limited to:
- Tigers and lions
- Gray wolves
- Komodo dragons
- Alligators and crocodiles
- Many types of primates
- Several types of snakes
Before purchasing an exotic animal, it is wise to check with the Ohio Department of Agriculture at (614)728-6220. You need to know whether it is legal to own the animal in Ohio. If it is legal, you may still need a permit or license to own the animal legally.
Liability for Injuries Caused by Sloths
You could be held liable for any injuries that your pet sloth causes to another person. While a slot may be slow, it is still a wild animal and could attack without warning. A person visiting your home that is bitten or clawed by your sloth could file a personal injury lawsuit.
If your homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover damages caused by an exotic or wild animal as a pet, you could be liable for thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost income, and other damages. If you broke any of the laws regarding exotic animals as pets, you could also face criminal charges.
Know The Law Before You Act
It is always wise to check the laws before acting. Learning about your legal rights and the laws pertaining to a specific situation after the fact may not save you from criminal penalties. Failing to know the law or understand the law is not a defense against criminal charges.
If you are charged with a crime, don’t panic. Contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You may have one or more defenses to the criminal charges. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner your attorney can advise you of your rights and begin working on getting you the best outcome possible in your case.