Upstate lawmaker to reintroduce exotic animal regulation bill

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- A senator from the Upstate is reintroducing an exotic animal bill following the escape of several dangerous animals in Ohio earlier this week.

Sen. David Thomas of Greenville says the bill would dramatically limit the importation and sale of non-indigenous animals in South Carolina. The Palmetto State is currently one of 12 states without limitation on exotic creatures.

"There is an ongoing importation of exotic animals into South Carolina, which endangers the environment and even human life," Thomas says. "For example, exotic snakes are being imported and could be explosive in harming an ecosystem that does not have natural predators to keep them in balance. Animals that could cause great harm are being imported from Africa and Southeast Asia. I again call on the SC legislature to deal with this issue before our state experiences a real problem."

Thomas has sponsored a similar bill twice in the past.

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This announcement comes on the heels of news that an exotic animal farm owner released more than 50 animals before killing himself in Zansesville, OH. Officials there shot and killed dozens of animals that were on the run, including tigers, lions and bears.

An autopsy shows the owner, Terry Thompson, had a bite wound on the head from a large cat. Investigators think the wound occurred shortly after Thompson shot himself.

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