Federal judge hears testimony on Ohio's exotic animal law

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A federal judge is scheduled to begin hearing testimony Monday in a lawsuit involving Ohio's new law regulating dangerous wild animals.

Four owners filed the lawsuit in Columbus federal court last month, contending the restrictions threaten their First Amendment and property rights.

The owners claim the law forces them to join private associations and possibly give up their animals without compensation. They also take issue with a requirement that the animals be implanted with a microchip before they're registered with the state, so the creatures can be identified if they get lost or escape.

The Humane Society of the United States has joined Ohio officials in defending law that it strongly supported. The organization contends it has an interest in the case's outcome because it is pushing similar laws nationwide.

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