Judge to hear appeal over exotic animals seized in NW Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A judge is set to hear arguments Wednesday in an appeal by a northwestern Ohio man whose six tigers and other exotic animals were seized by the state.

Ohio took custody of the animals from Kenny Hetrick’s roadside sanctuary in January 2015 after officials said he ignored warnings about needing a permit for them. Inspectors also reported that his cages weren’t secure enough to prevent an escape. The state later relocated the animals under contracts with out-of-state facilities.

Hetrick alleges his application for a permit was wrongly denied, his animals were improperly taken and the orders that facilitated their transfer should be vacated.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, which has oversight of such animals, says its director’s order was legally valid and supported by evidence and should be affirmed.