Turns out yesterday’s bizarre escaped animal incident in Zanesville, Ohio (east of Columbus) where dozens of exotic animals were put down after they were released into the Ohio countryside before their owner apparently committed suicide? Yeah, you can hang that one on Gov. John Kasich’s neck too.
The tragedy exposes the dangers of wildlife trafficking, in which private collectors actively trade in exotic animals all over the states “in a vibrant and poorly regulated market.” According to the Humane Society, Ohio has long been “the center of the exotic-auction industry.” Ohio’s former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) attempted to “crack down” on the market by issuing an executive order that banned new private ownership of exotic animals. Issued on Jan. 6, 2011, it was one of his last acts as governor and lasted 90 days. His replacement, GOP Gov. John Kasich let it expire. Only now, after the bloodbath, does Kasich see it as “a problem.”
Kasich’s team called the measure “unenforceable.” Only one problem: parts of that executive order were very much enforceable, including the provision that could have prevented this awful event.
If Kasich had extended the emergency ban, “the state would have had the authority to remove [the owner’s] animals” as the owner, 62-year old Tommy Thompson, had been convicted of animal cruelty. Thompson shot himself after releasing the animals yesterday.
So yeah, way to go, Republicans. You could have done the right thing, you could have stopped this mess, instead Kasich said “NO BIGGIE LOL” and let the order and the power the state had that could have prevented this from happening expire. If he wasn’t the most hated Governor in the land, this one pretty much seals it.