September 30, 2020 | Ohio Law
People love all different types of animals. Some people are cat lovers, while other people prefer dogs. Some people may prefer snakes or chickens as pets.
Domesticated animals are legal as pets in Ohio. However, most wild animals and exotic animals are banned as pets in Ohio. There are good reasons for banning exotic animals as pets.
Wild and exotic animals are unpredictable. They can attack suddenly and without cause. It is also difficult to care for many exotic animals. Most wild animals require special diets, veterinary care, and habitats.
Even though owning an exotic animal can be challenging, many people choose to share their home with a wild animal. Ohio has very strict laws regarding exotic animals as pets, but it does not include sloths on the list of banned animals as pets.
Are Sloths Good Pets?
Sloths live in Central and South America. They are tree-dwelling animals who live most of their lives hanging upside down. Sloths sleep between 15 to 18 hours each day in the trees.
Other than being sedentary, sloths are also solitary creatures. They only socialize with other animals when they are breeding, which makes them less desirable as pets. However, many people fall in love with these very slow, cute animals.
However, just because you can own a sloth in Ohio does not mean that it is a good idea. Sloths can live up to 20 to 30 years. Individuals need to understand that they are making a commitment that could last for three decades.
Sloths require a special diet. It can also be difficult to find a veterinarian near your home that is qualified or willing to provide treatment. The financial cost and investment over three decades can be substantial.
Are You Liable for Damages Caused by Your Sloth?
Sloths can attack without warning. Even though they are slow, they can bite and have sharp claws. A sloth can do a good bit of damage if it attacks someone.
A person visiting your home that is injured by your sloth can sue you for damages. Injuries could include puncture wounds, infections, soft tissue damage, and scarring.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy may not cover damages caused by a pet sloth. Because sloths are considered exotic animals, the policy may exclude accidents involving a pet sloth. If your homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover the damages caused by your sloth, you could be responsible for thousands of dollars in damages.
In addition to civil penalties, you could also face criminal charges if you violate any of Ohio’s laws related to owning exotic animals as pets.
Ohio’s Exotic Animal Laws
The wild animal laws in Ohio restrict the types of animals that private individuals can own, possess, transfer, sell, or trade. There are a few exceptions for individuals who owned some of the pets on the list before the law took effect.
The list of dangerous wild animals is extensive. Some of the animals on the list that are banned as pets include, but are not limited to:
- Crocodiles and alligators
- Gray wolves
- Komodo dragons
- Several types of snakes
- Many types of primates
The exotic animal laws in Ohio also prohibit allowing exotic or wild animals kept as pets to roam off the property. It is against the law to release a wild animal or remove a microchip from a dangerous wild animal.
The restrictions in wild animal laws do not apply to some organizations. Certain educational facilities, zoos, and research facilities can legally possess some wild animals. However, these organizations must follow the laws very carefully to avoid criminal charges related to exotic animals.
It is a good idea to check with the Ohio Department of Agriculture before purchasing a sloth or other exotic animal to ensure that you follow all laws. It is also wise to check with your local government to ensure that there are no local ordinances against owning a wild or exotic animal in your city or county.
What Should You Do if You Are Charged with a Crime?
If you are charged with breaking the exotic animal laws or other Ohio laws, do not panic. Instead, focus on what you can do to help defend yourself against criminal charges.
Remain silent. Do not answer questions or agree to provide a statement. Talking to the police usually makes matters worse in most cases.
Ask for a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Do not ask if you “need” a defense lawyer. Without hesitation, state that you want an attorney present.
Even if the police officers continue to question you, remain silent. You are not required to answer any questions until you have the opportunity to talk to an attorney.
Contact the Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202