Bear escape, mauling, & deadly fire may bring tougher Ohio exotic regs
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2006:
CLEVELAND–Ohio state senator Tim Grendell (R-Geauga County)
on May 26, 2006 pledged to introduce a bill to increase restrictions
on keeping exotic pets and wildlife. “State law now requires
wild-animal breeders to obtain a license and keep records, but does
not require cages,” observed Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter John
Two incidents in three days may at last have brought
legislative attention to the hazards of keeping exotic and wild
animals, more than 22 years after the first such incident involving
one of the keepers involved.
On May 22, 2006 a 500-pound black bear escaped from a cage
at the Grand River Fur Exchange in Hartsgrove Township, one of 57
businesses in Ohio that hold permits to breed a total of 137 captive
black bears. The bear mauled Rachel Supplee, 36.
“The victim was attacked in her home when her 15-year-old
daughter, Daphne, opened a door to let the family dog out,”
reported Ashtabula Star-Beacon staff writer Doris Cook. “The bear
stormed past the daughter, and headed for the mother. Daphne
probably saved her mother’s life when she began tossing meat to the
bear. The injured woman managed to get out of the house. According
to the sheriff’s report, the daughter escaped through a window to
Grand River Fur Exchange owner Mark Gutman later shot the bear.
“Gutman’s license applications shows he had 692 animals: 322
foxes, 150 coyotes, 12 bobcats, seven wolf-hybrids, four black
bears, two mountain lions and a lynx,” said Associated Press.
Two nights later, Horton reported, “A black bear cub and
two tiger cubs died inside their cages as flames swept through the
Summit County home of wild animal breeder Lorenza Pearson, but did
not damage the nearby pens of [his] L&L Exotic Animal Farm, fire
Chief Todd Chambers said. State records show Pearson held eight
black bears on the property,” Horton wrote.
“Pearson’s son said 10 large cats– including lions and
tigers–also share the property. A pending USDA case against Pearson
claims numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act at his Copley
Township farm between May 1998 and November 2001,” Horton wrote.
“In 2004, officials removed bears, tigers and lions–from Pearson’s
farm after a judge deemed the operation a public nuisance. The issue
involved the handling of animal waste.
“In 1983,” Horton added, “a 250-pound Bengal tiger killed
Pearson’s 2-year-old son inside the family’s home.”