USA : Like their counterparts in Ohio, West Virginia wildlife officials lack the authority to regulate ownership of exotic animals as they are released from Zanesville park Tuesday.
Local officials said the district Muskingham Animal Park, where owner Terry Thompson released 56 wild animals before killing himself Tuesday, has become a growing concern for some time.
Among the animals were released Bengal tigers, lions and wolves. But despite the fears of some, nothing can be done about the garden called.
Ohio law governing ownership native animals such as bears, but says nothing about non-native, exotic animals.
It is similar to the current legislation guiding the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
"In simple terms, the Division of Natural Resources has the authority to regulate the native wildlife," said Paul Johansen, DNR assistant chief in charge of game management. "Things like lions and tigers do not fall under our power, so people do not need permission to have them."
The only animals that are currently or at some time in the past has a natural habitat in the state are regulated in the country code.
That includes various species of bears, deer and small game. But unless someone proves that tigers once roamed Appalachia, DNR can not regulate them.
U.S. Department of Agriculture does not regulate the public display of exotic animals, but has no authority over those who only kept as pets.
State Senate recently passed bill 2007, which will form a council to regulate the possession, sale and transportation of non-native species. However, they never advanced in the House of Delegates bill.
"These are issues that are already out there, it's an issue of concern, but certainly not moving through the Legislature," said Johansen.