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Gov to review exotic pet laws

Gov. Bob McDonnell said today he’s asked his Secretary of Public Safety to review Virginia’s laws — or lack thereof — regarding exotic animals.

This comes in response to last week’s incident in Ohio in which 48 exotic animals — including tigers and lions — were shot by authorities. Their owner had kept a menagerie of more than 50 animals; he cut open their cages and then shot himself. Some of the surviving animals, including some monkeys, were sent to local zoos.

While some states ban exotic pets, Virginia does not. Last week the Virginia Humane Society urged McDonnell to adopt regulations restricting ownership of such animals. According to the Society, Virginia’s laws provide “little oversight” — they say big cats, bears and wolves require permits, and there are no regulations over primates.

Speaking on WTOP radio’s monthly Ask the Governor program, McDonnell said his administration has just started reviewing Virginia’s laws to see if they should be tightened up, and he’s waiting for the report before taking any action.