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Ohio officials note progress after exotics release

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio officials are contending the state is safer under tighter restrictions for owning exotic animals.

Thursday marks one year since a suicidal owner released dozens of wild creatures — including bears, Bengal tigers and mountain lions — from his farm near Zanesville in eastern Ohio.

A new law that took effect last month requires owners to register their exotic animals and meet other regulations. According to the state, just 17 owners have completed registrations so far.

The law bans people from buying and selling dangerous wild animals. Other provisions such as permit requirements have yet to kick in.

The Ohio sheriff who oversaw the response to the animals' release last October says the state has made progress. But one Republican opponent of the law is more skeptical of its impact.