Panel approves Ohio agency's request for $500,000 more for care, moving of exotic animals

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A state budgetary panel has approved an additional $500,000 to help deal with creatures seized or surrendered under Ohio's crackdown on exotic-animal ownership.

The Department of Agriculture said it needs the money to provide adequate care. It sought $300,000 to pay for transporting animals from Ohio's temporary holding site to other qualified facilities. The other $200,000 would compensate facilities for housing and feeding seized animals while legal proceedings are pending.

The state Controlling Board cleared the request Monday.

Agriculture spokeswoman Erica Hawkins says the additions to the current $800,000 budget are expected to meet the department's needs until the fiscal year ends next June.

She says the cost of enforcing the relatively new law wasn't initially clear, and the department always figured it might need to request more money eventually.

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