State: Ohio wild animal law doesn't violate rights

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Attorneys for Ohio are telling a federal appeals court that the state's exotic animal law doesn't violate the constitutional rights of owners.

Several owners are suing the state's agriculture director over the rules. They contend the regulations limit their freedom of association by essentially forcing them to join organizations they don't support, among other restrictions.

Attorneys for the state say the law offers ways for the owners to keep their animals without joining the organizations.

The state's response came Wednesday in a brief filed with the 6th U.S. District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

A federal judge in Columbus last year sided with the state and upheld the law.

Ohio's regulations were enacted following the 2011 release of dozens of wild creatures by a suicidal owner in Zanesville.

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