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Are Exotic Pets A Dangerous Problem In The Miami Valley?

Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 @ 9:51 AM
Updated: Friday, May 02, 2008 @ 7:50 AM

A giant alligator sits motionless by a pool of calm water, a cougar licks his paws under the sun of a warm April day, and two grown tigers pace inside a fenced-in enclosure.

All four animals share a common history.

They were all owned as pets by different Miami Valley residents and have been rescued by Preble County’s Heaven’s Corner Zoo.

Throughout the years, workers at Heaven’s Corner, in West Alexandria, have taken in exotic pets that have either become too big or have gotten loose from their residential owners.

Heaven's Corner Zoo Opens May 3rd. Chad Nawrocki Talks About Alligators As Pets Tim Harrison Talks About Exotic Pets Cindy Turk Describes Finding a Snake In Her Bathroom

“If you have the experience and the compound to take care of an animal like that, I see no problem with it,” said zoo volunteer Scott Trochelman. “But to have one in an apartment in Dayton? No. These animals are killers in the wild and in captivity.”

Despite attempts to educate residents about the danger of owning exotic animals, like venomous snakes and wild cats, local animal expert Tim Harrison said many are ignoring the warnings. He said exotic pet owners are putting themselves and their neighbors at risk.

City Of Dayton Exotic Pet Ordinance

“I’ve never heard of a happy ending with anyone having a large predator as a pet, never a happy ending,” said Harrison, who is the president of Outreach For Animals, based in Oakwood.

Harrison, who is also an Oakwood police officer, has rescued hundreds of exotic animals that have escaped from their Miami Valley owners over the past several years, and he said the danger continues to grow.

“Taipans from Australia, deadly snakes, tigers – I’ve had four big cat calls in the last three months,” Harrison said during an interview with News Center 7 in April.

In February, Kettering resident Cindy Turk found a Burmese python under her bathroom sink.

“I just screamed. I was crying,” Turk said.

Turk and her family said they suspect the large snake escaped from a neighboring apartment.

“We think it got loose, it came up through the pipes,” Turk said.

According to Harrison, Burmese pythons kill more children under the age of 16 than any other snake.

Harrison said exotic pets also put law enforcement officers at risk. Last year, authorities investigating an alleged methamphetamine lab in Warren County came face to face with a grown Burmese python, and in February, U.S. Marshals found two alligators while serving a search warrant in Dayton.

In Ohio’s major cities, including Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland, owning an exotic pet is illegal, but in most rural and suburban areas it is not.

A search of April classified ads turned up alligators, lions, anacondas and piranhas for sale, and the internet also makes it shockingly easy to purchase exotic animals, such as venomous snakes.

Chad Nawrocki, who legally owns and sells alligators out of his Butler County home, said he believes exotic pets are only dangerous if they have uneducated owners.

“I’ll ask a lot of questions before I sell and alligator, just because I don’t want it to fall into the wrong hands,” Nawrocki said.

But Harrison believes too many exotic pets are falling into the wrong hands, which is why he is working on a campaign to outlaw exotic pets statewide.

“They’re wild animals. (Pet owners) think they are going to tame them, but they don’t want to be tamed,” Harrison said. “If you really want to protect your neighborhood, don’t bring these things into them.”

News Center 7 attempted to contact a local organization that works to protect the right of residents to own exotic pets, but our phone calls were not returned.

EXOTIC ANIMAL SAFETY: What To Do If You See An Exotic Animal What would you do if you saw a tiger walking through your neighborhood?

It has happened in the Miami Valley before, and local animal expert Tim Harrison believes it could happen again.

If you see an exotic cat, Harrison said the worst thing you can do is run.

“Stay calm and walk slowly away facing the animal,” Harrison said. “Never turn your back, just slowly work your way to a place where you feel safe, and call police.”

If you find a snake, Harrison said you should not touch it, and call authorities.

Husted bucks GOP, is against voter photo ID push

Published: Friday, April 08, 2011 @ 6:11 AM
Updated: Friday, April 08, 2011 @ 6:11 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The official who oversees Ohio's elections says he doesn't agree with a measure proposed by some fellow Republicans to require voters to show photo IDs at the polls.   

Secretary of State John Husted tells The Columbus Dispatch on Thursday that he would not change current policy that allows voters to prove their identities with photo IDs or other documents, such as utility bills or paychecks.   

A bill approved by the Ohio House would require voters to show the photo ID before casting an in-person ballot. It is now being reviewed by the Senate.   

Husted instead proposes changes for voters casting early ballots or provisional ballots. He says those voters should be required to give their full Social Security numbers instead of the currently required last four digits.

Election Board Moves Carefully On Husted Investigation

Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 5:35 AM
Updated: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 5:35 AM

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Montgomery County Board of Elections attorney will review voting residency laws before the board decides if it will move forward on an investigation of Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering.

The four-person board has asked for the legal review after member Dennis Lieberman, a Democrat, said an Oct. 18 Dayton Daily News article raised questions about Husted's residency and voter registration.

"I think we have an obligation to look into it," Lieberman said.

Republican board members Jim Nathanson and Greg Gantt, county party chairman and chairman of the board, both referred to an investigation of Husted as a "witch hunt." Nathanson said he does not think it "serves anyone" to look into Husted's residency this close to the election.

Husted, elected to the House in 2000, said, "if they haven't filed a complaint (then) they must not think there is a problem."

He is running for a Senate seat from the 6th District against Centerville School Board member John Doll, a Democrat.

The deadline to remove names from the ballot has passed, but the board can review the validity of Husted's voter registration.

A legislator must be a legal resident of his district and can be forced to forfeit the seat if he is not.

Ohio law on residency for voting purposes says a person's residence is the "place where the family of a married person resides."

Husted has been dogged by questions about his residency for several years because he stays with his wife and children in Upper Arlington and is rarely seen at his home in Kettering, 148 Sherbrooke Drive.

He is registered to vote in Montgomery County. His wife, Tina, is registered in Upper Arlington. Jon Husted voted absentee every time he cast a ballot since 2005 and voted in person every time prior to that, according to Montgomery County board of elections records.

Since their marriage in 2005, the Husteds have simultaneously owned or co-owned properties that they've called "principal residences" and received 2.5 percent property tax reductions allowed for owner-occupied homes. The law states that a couple can take the tax break on only one house. Neither Husted applied for an exception.

On Friday, Franklin County Auditor Joe Testa said Tina Husted should repay a tax break the Husteds claimed on the Columbus condominium she and Jon co-owned as a "principal residence" at the same time she got a $207.46 tax break on a different home she owned.

Husted said he and his wife have now repaid $27.22 to the auditor, who told him there are no other problems. Testa could not be reached for comment. Husted said Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith informed him "everything is fine" in this county.

However, Keith said he's only verified that the tax break was properly taken on the Kettering home since 1995 and that Husted is registered to vote there. He said it is up to Testa to review that information for possible conflicts with Tina's tax breaks. Keith said he will continue his inquiry.

As of last week, the couple was renting a home at 2672 Coventry Road in Upper Arlington. Husted would not directly say if they moved over the weekend to a house Tina owns at 2305 Haverford Road, Upper Arlington.

"We are no longer renting the Coventry and the only Columbus residence or Columbus property that we own, that my wife owns, is the property on Haverford," Husted said.

(Article courtesy of www.daytondailynews.com)

Husted Residency Still Questioned, To Appear Before Board

Published: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 @ 7:27 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 @ 7:27 AM

DAYTON, Ohio -- Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering, must appear on Jan. 7 before the Montgomery County Board of Elections, which is investigating whether he lives in his district at the Kettering address where he is registered to vote, the board decided on Tuesday, Dec. 16.

A letter will be sent to Husted outlining what documents the board is requesting he provide to prove his residency, said Steve Harsman, board director. Requests for an investigation came from a Kettering Republican and a liberal nonprofit group after an Oct. 18 Dayton Daily News story raised new questions about Husted's residency.

Husted, who could not be reached for comment, says his home is at 148 Sherbrooke Ave. in Kettering. However, he said he sometimes stays with his wife, Tina, in an Upper Arlington house she owns because the demands of his job as House Speaker frequently keep him in Columbus. Jon and Tina have one son and Jon has a son from his first marriage.

Husted took an apartment in Columbus shortly after becoming 37th District representative in 2001 and bought a Columbus condominium in 2003. He became speaker and married Tina in 2005. They co-owned a Columbus condominium they sold in 2007. Husted's wife is registered to vote at the Upper Arlington home.

Husted rarely had official business scheduled on his calendar after mid-August, when the House was not in session this year, according to a daily calendar provided by his office. It also shows few trips to his district. A travel expense report Husted signed for a 2005 trip to a conference in Las Vegas listed his home address as 911 Manor Lane, Columbus, which was the first condo he owned. A 2005 traffic citation handled in Upper Arlington Mayor's court also lists that as his home address.

In January Husted will take office as a sixth district senator. Ohio law requires that legislators live in their district.

In October the Daily News reported that Jon and Tina Husted had simultaneously claimed homes in Upper Arlington and Kettering as "principal" residences and taken property tax breaks for owner-occupied homes on them. They also claimed the condo they co-owned as a principal residence, while claiming the same tax break on homes in Kettering and Upper Arlington.

Tina was ordered by Franklin County Auditor Joe Testa to repay the tax break for the condominium. Testa said he considers the matter closed. Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith said he believes Husted qualifies for the tax break in Kettering, and he said state payroll records list it as Husted's home.

"If the board of elections determines that his voter registration is invalid at that address then I will have to take another look," Keith said.

(Article courtesy of www.daytondailynews.com)

Snake in bathroom saves woman from bedroom attacker

Published: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 @ 7:06 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 @ 7:06 PM

A Florida woman is crediting a snake in her home with saving her from a sexual assault last week.

Police said the Lee County woman called deputies when she found the reptile in her bathroom, minutes before a man broke into her house, grabbed her and demanded sex, according to media reports

>> Read more trending news  

Malcolm Porter, 28, allegedly sneaked up on the victim, choked her, then demanded she get condoms from another room. Once free, the woman fled from her home where deputies, who responded to the snake call, were waiting outside. 

Porter was arrested and is jailed without bond on charges of battery by strangulation.

The victim told police she knew the man and that he “may have been high" on drugs, local media reported. 

One of the victim's neighbors called the snake encounter "a blessing in disguise."

"The snake played a role in saving her," the neighbor said.

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