I sat and pondered over this Ohio story of the week....where the guy committed suicide right after he released all his lions, tigers and bears.
This is the thing....generally, if you came up and had this one fascination with bears....and wanted to keep one or two bears....I'd have no issue with that. As a neighbor, I'd expect you to respect my safety, the safety of my kids, and my other neighbors. You'd share my expectations, and ensure a first class cage was set up for your two bears. You'd ensure they were kept happy and fully fed. It'd all be within your means of finance, and personal attention.
But the day that you decide that you need six bears, a dozen tigers, ten lions, and five camels....I'd start to question just how capable you really were. I grew up on a farm, and know that a non-threatening animal requires just about zero attention. You walk your fence once a month. You ensure fresh hay in the winter. But it's all a couple of hours here and there. Once you start talking about more than ten animals of a threatening nature, and the enormous amount of security involved....things start to become difficult. Toss in costs, and the vet bills.....and you've got yourself a five-star potential mess.
I hate making life difficult and miserable for folks like this....and I generally hate making regulations....but a lack of common sense makes these folks more of a threat than a friend. They always love to entertain folks by showing how friendly their one bear is....or how the tiger eats from their hand. The truth is that these are all animals who are not domesticated. It would take a number of generations of absolute control before you could label such an animal as "friendly".
So here's my simple regulation. You want to keep one bear, or lion or tiger? First, you post a bond of $100k to the local county. Second, show a insurance policy of $500k for any incident. Suddenly, the interest in keeping such animals has a price tag attached. If you want a dozen tigers? The bond goes up substantially.....$1 million. At this point....suddenly the only folks who actually end up with exotic animals are actual zoo's (waivered from this requirement or game preserves (authorized by the state legislature)).
In the months to come.....this event in Ohio will be discussed in public and private. My guess is that a thousand oddball exotic pet owners are going to start to feel heat over their little collection....no matter what state they live. The truth is.....they kinda deserve the heat because of their passion, and lack of common sense.