Thursday, January 14, 2016

State law does not prohibit Ohio residents from owning bobcats, appeals court rules

Ohio residents can now own bobcats, Eric Freedman reports for the Great Lakes Echo, a project of the journalism department at Michigan State University. The state Court of Appeals ruled "that private ownership of a bobcat isn’t banned because the Ohio legislature didn’t explicitly include it in a 2012 law regulating possession of dangerous wild animals." Adam Federer had sued after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR) "refused to renew his annual license because scientists and the state Agriculture Department classify the bobcat is a lynx and thus a 'dangerous wild animal.'" (DNR photo)

Federer, who has owned the bobcat since 2003, said he had "no problems getting an annual license from the DNR until 2014, when the agency denied his application based on the 2012 law," Freedman writes. "That law requires a permit from the state Agriculture Department to get a DNR license. The legislative roster of taboo animals lists 'lynxes, including Canadian lynxes, Eurasian lynxes and Iberian lynxes' but doesn’t mention bobcats, Among the other animals banned for private ownership and sale are bears, lions, jaguars, Cape buffaloes, elephants, crocodiles, rhinoceroses, leopards, Komodo dragons, tigers and northern night monkeys. The law makes exceptions, including for accredited zoos, aquariums and wildlife shelters, research facilities, licensed circuses and veterinarians temporarily caring for the animals."

There are between 725,000 to 1,020,000 bobcats in the wild, states Defenders of Wildlife. Males typically weigh between 16 to 28 pounds and females 10 to 18 pounds. The animals, which live 12 to 13 years, are typically 17 to 23 inches tall and 25 to 41 inches in length. Bobcats mainly hunt rabbits and hares but are also known to eat rodents, birds, bats, adult deer and lamb, poultry and young pigs.

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