Thousands of people have joined a breaking campaign on Change.org calling on Ohio Governor John Kasich to ban the sale of exotic animals after over fifty animals escaped from a private Ohio zoo on Wednesday.
Liz Dumler, a concerned Ohio citizen, launched the campaign on Change.org after as many as 56 exotic animals - including tigers, lions, bears, wolves, and leopards - escaped a zoo through gates left open by owner Terry Thompson, who was found dead in his house. As of Wednesday evening, around 50 of the animals had been shot and killed by police, and at least three animals – a grizzly bear, a mountain lion, and a monkey – were still at large.
"As an Ohio native, I was shocked and outraged when I learned of the deaths of the exotic animals that were kept as pets in Zanesville, Ohio,” said petition creator Liz Dumler. “Sadly, the lack of laws and regulation in the state of Ohio concerning the sale and ownership of exotics have allowed this situation to happen. The deaths of these innocent animals shouldn't be in vain, let's change the laws in Ohio concerning exotic pets in their memory."
News of the success of Dumler’s campaign’s is likely to put pressure on Governor Kasich and other Ohio officials to prohibit the sale or ownership of exotic animals. Hundreds of exotic animals are currently kept as pets in Ohio, which is one of fewer than 10 states that do not regulate exotic animal ownership.
“What Liz Dumler has accomplished in a matter of hours is remarkable,” said Change.org Director of Organizing Stephanie Feldstein. “Immediately following the escape of over 50 animals from a zoo in Ohio, Liz launched a campaign on Change.org and managed to recruit thousands of supporters in less than 24 hours. Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it has been incredible to watch Liz’s campaign explode overnight.”
Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland had passed a temporary executive order to ban exotic animals, which Governor Kasich allowed to expire upon taking office.
Live signature totals from Liz Dumler’s campaign: