Judges hear appeal over exotic animals seized in NW Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A panel of judges has heard arguments in an appeal by a northwestern Ohio man whose six tigers and other exotic animals were seized by the state.

Ohio took the animals from Kenny Hetrick’s roadside sanctuary in January 2015 after officials said he ignored warnings about needing a permit for them. Inspectors also reported that his cages weren’t secure enough to prevent an escape. The state later relocated the animals under contracts with out-of-state facilities.

Hetrick’s attorney argued Wednesday in Columbus that he was treated differently than other owners in similar circumstances and should get an opportunity to introduce more documentation supporting that.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, which has oversight of such animals, says its director’s order was legally valid and supported by evidence and should be affirmed.

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