Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ohio Department of Agriculture Commits Animal Cruelty

On Wednesday, January 28th, the State of Ohio Department of Agriculture committed a massive act of animal cruelty. They raided the 40 year old Tiger Ridge Exotics farm owned by Kenny Hetrick in Stony Ridge, Ohio. Tiger Ridge has housed lions, tigers and bears for 40 years without incident and is USDA licensed with the federal government. Never at any time has an animal gotten loose from Tiger Ridge.

"In November, Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn told 13abc, "We've never had a problem with any of the animals here. We've never had any complaints or any type of escape." 

First some background, In 2012, the State of Ohio listened to its animal rights puppet masters and passed a massive unconstitutional bill that violates the rights of every Ohio resident and bans the private ownership of exotic animals. Now if you could meet the unmeetable standards written into the law, these un-elected brown shirts promised they'd issue permits for the existing animals until they died. They lied. Anytime some bureaucrat tells you that you have to apply for "permission" to exercise your constitutional rights, you can be sure they will simply withdraw that permission at any time. Many stories abound of owners trying to comply only to have state bureaucrats stonewall them at every turn.

When the law passed four Ohio exotic owners got together and sued challenging the fraudulent Ohio Dangerous Wild Animal Act. That lawsuit was working its way through the courts until March of 2014 when the state in conjunction with animal rights lawyers from HSUS prevailed.

Tiger Ridge was one of those opponents who stood up and said, "This is wrong." As such they were one of the first victims of Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). In October of 2014, Hetrick received a letter stating he had ten days to give up his constitutionally authorized private property. He kept fighting for his rights to own and protect his animals. In November of 2014, ODA inspected him and then dragged their heels until January 17, 2015 when they sent him a letter denying his ODA permit. During this entire time he has still been licensed under the USDA and complies with all federal standards. The denial process was supposed to include a 30 day time limit for him to file an appeal of the denial of his permit. 

Instead the nation exploded in horror when they heard and saw the brown shirted thugs of ODA descending on the farm in 22 degree weather led by animal rights extremist David Hunt, an agent of the ODA.  David Hunt is another animal rights thug connected to HSUS with zero credible education in animals.  Once there they started seizing the elderly animals in this frigid weather endangering their lives. They woke the bear up from his hibernation, shot him with a dart gun, and beat him with steel pipes. They kept shooting him until he finally collapsed. They went around the farm causing property damage, cutting locks, destroying gates and fencing, and shot the rest of the animals with dart guns wounding them. Not one single veterinarian examined the animals to determine their age, weight and appropriate dosage to dart them with. They dragged at least one tiger on the ground while stealing the 11 exotic animals housed at the farm. They dragged many of the animals across the ground and shoved them into open steel horses trailers for the three hour drive to the state's exotic animal prison. They also tried to stop bystanders from filming the raid not knowing that Kenny had surveillance cameras capturing their every sadistic move. The ODA deliberately raided this elderly man on the fourth anniversary of the death of his wife. A move planned by these brown shirts to cause maximum trauma to Kenny for daring to oppose their unconstitutional actions. 

While this horrific act of animal abuse was occurring at Tiger Ridge, Hetrick's lawyer raced to the courthouse to file an injunction stopping the raid. Knowing what his lawyer was racing off to do, ODA worked quickly to get the remaining animals off the farm, into their steel trailers and raced off down the highway to avoid getting served by the Judge's order. Even so, ODA was notified of the Judge's ruling before they reached the state exotic animal prison built at Reynoldsburg. Instead of just turning around and bringing the animals back before they woke up, they instead kept going. They figured possession is 9 tenths of the law and it will be just that much harder for Hetrick to get them back.

Now they claim they will be "evaluated" before deciding if they will obey the Judge's order and return the animals. How's them apples? What if a Judge issued a written ruling ordering you to do something and you said, "You know what your Honor? I'm just going to think that one over and I'll decide when I'm going to obey." How do you think that would fly for one of us?

Now ODA keeps telling the media that all of this is simply the result of the Zanesville incident. they are lying. This legislative effort pre-dates Zanesville and has its roots in the Ohio Farm Bureau's "Ohio Buckeye Compromise" with the animal rights group, HSUS . Basically the Ohio Farm Bureau threw the exotic owners under the bus to protect themselves from animal rights attacks.

ODA spokesperson, Erica Hawkins has been speaking to the media and saying things like this to justify their failure to obey the Judge's order, "One, we're looking at the security of the cages. We want to make sure that they're appropriate to contain the animals that are in them."

First off, ODA is the one that destroyed the cages. Secondly, Erica Hawkins is a career bureaucrat operating on the Ohio taxpayer dime with ZERO education in animals. None.  She has a degree in political science, not animals.  Here's her lying again. Veterinarians?  Some of the people dragging the animals around looked like people in their early 20's. 

Here ODA is again, lying when confronted with the evidence that their raid was videotaped. 

""While we cannot comment specifically on the video without seeing it, our veterinarians and animal health staff are trained to carefully move animals on net stretchers and did not drag any animal through the snow. Additionally, it is a standard veterinary practice to test the reflexes of an animal that has been aestheticized in order to determine if the anesthesia has taken full effect."

It is a standard veterinary practice to beat a bear with a steel pipe to "test the reflexes?"  In what world?

The animals were taken from their secure outdoor enclosures on the farm to being stored in concrete prison cells at state run Alcatraz at Reynoldsburg with no access to sunshine and light and no ability to go outside. These animals are used to being able to roam at will in their large enclosures only to wake up in a small steel cell with no human interaction.  They have to live, sleep, and defecate on the same piece of cold concrete.  

Now the paper pushing bureaucrats at ODA are pulling every string they can to avoid having to give the stolen animals back.  After they whined and cried a Judge agreed to let them hang onto the animals until a hearing on February 3rd. The brown shirts of the ODA released a statement:

"Today the state filed an appeal in the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals regarding the Wood County Common Pleas Court Order to return dangerous wild animals that were seized from Mr. Ken Hetrick in Stony Ridge, Ohio. ODA believes the trial judge should not have ordered the animals to be returned because Mr. Hetrick cannot possess them under Ohio law and because it would be detrimental to the health and well-being of the animals."

Yes, after the brown shirts of the ODA abused them and destroyed some of their fencing now they are all concerned about their "health and well-being."  The problem is, none of them have any formal education in how to care for lions, tigers, and bears.  They are being paid by the Ohio taxpayer to commit these acts against Ohioans.  It is long past time that Ohio stood up and withdrew their tax money from the ODA.  

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