COLUMBUS -- Owners registered 721 dangerous wild animals as of the state deadline earlier this month, with another two dozen-plus owners still being processed.
More than half (373) were housed at zoos in Akron, Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo and the Columbus Zoo-affiliated Wilds safari-style park in Muskingum County.
The rest are scattered across the state in private hands, many held by owners with one or two animals in their possession. Area owners in the Ohio Department of Agriculture's current registration listing included:
Maryann Nash of Garretsville, a 13-year-old cougar named Mays.
Kathryn McDermott of Hiram, a 6-year-old Canadian Lynx named Woodrow.
June Witchey of Ravenna, two tigers and a lion, named Puna, Maggie and Brutus, respectively.
Walter Horton of Rootstown, two Marmosets, no names provided.
The state registration list is not yet completed, however. Erica Hawkins, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said the office continues to work with about 30 owners who submitted incomplete registration paperwork. Many either neglected to include serial numbers from microchips or are still working to implant the chips in their animals.
Under a new state law, bears, tigers, lions, elephants, Komodo dragons, crocodiles and other species are classified as "dangerous wild animals." Existing owners in both categories are banned from acquiring new animals, though they can keep existing ones as long as they register with the state, implant microchips, meet care standards and obtain proper permits.
The new law also categorizes a variety of anacondas, pythons and other restricted snakes, with owners required to obtain possession and propagation permits.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is overseeing the permitting and will be charged with confiscating animals held illegally.
In coming months, members of a new state board will work to develop permanent standards for the care and caging of different animals. Board members held their inaugural meeting earlier this month and signed off on temporary standards.
Private owners were required to register their animals by Nov. 5 to be eligible to hold them as of January 2014.
"No one out there's getting punished for anything yet," said Sen. Troy Balderson, a Republican from Zanesville and primary sponsor of the new law. He added, "I think we're doing OK right now in working with owners."
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.