Zoo Wars~ Breaking News-UPDATE-Tiger Ridge
Appeals court set to hear Tiger Ridge animals case
Oral arguments are set for June 15 before the Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals in the ongoing Tiger Ridge Exotics case.
The arguments follow an October decision by the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County denying the appeal of Tiger Ridge owner Kenneth Hetrick on a number of issues in the matter.
In an amended, 65-page brief filed with the 10th District Court, Hetrick’s attorneys presented seven assignments of error in the lower court’s decision, among them that Hetrick was “not notified or served” with an order transferring his 12 animals; that there were inconsistencies in testimony, as well as in the production of alleged orders by the Ohio Department of Agriculture; that Chapter 935 of the Ohio Revised Code, concerning the possession of wild animals, “is vague and was applied in an arbitrary and haphazard manner” in denying Hetrick’s permit applications; and that the court “erred in determining that the transfer order was valid and in accordance with the law because it violated (Hetrick’s) due process rights.”
In their 56-page brief, attorneys for the ODA argued in part that the trial court found the transfer order to be “supported by reliable, probative and substantial evidence and was in accordance with law”; that the court was correct in upholding a previous finding that the transfer order was properly served upon Hetrick; and that it was right in determining that Hetrick’s claim of vagueness and arbitrary application of ORC 935 “is irrelevant.”
In an 11-page reply to the ODA brief, Hetrick’s attorneys argued that there are multiple issues before the court, not just whether Hetrick was in possession of “Dangerous Wild Animals” on Jan. 28, 2015, and whether they were being unlawfully kept at Tiger Ridge without a permit. The reply stated again that “it is clear from the entire record that the transfer order was not served” and that it did not contain “all of the criteria mandated by statute.”
They also argue that the ODA’s assertion that Hetrick “had no legal right to possess his animals since he did not have a permit” is “incorrect.”
“Without a permit he was merely in violation of the statute,” the reply said. “When licensing for dogs is required and the deadline is not met the state does not take a person’s dog or deny them the ability to get the license. Instead a fine or penalty is imposed. (The ODA) wrongfully denied (Hetrick’s) application for the permit primarily because they felt that he filed past a deadline. The statute does not say permits cannot or will not be issued after a date certain. … Instead, (the ODA) wanted to make an example of” Hetrick.
The case has been ongoing since Jan. 28, 2015, when 12 animals — including tigers, a bear, a lion and a tiger/lion hybrid known as a liger — were seized from Tiger Ridge Exotics, on Fremont Pike in Stony Ridge, after the denial of a state-mandated permit for the facility. Wood County Judge Reeve Kelsey issued an order for the animals to be returned, which incited a sustained legal back-and-forth between the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Hetrick in multiple jurisdictions.
One of the animals, a lion named Leo, was euthanized by the ODA in April 2015. The animal had reportedly been in failing health. The animals have continued to be in state custody since the matter began.
Most recently in Wood County court, an evidentiary hearing was held in two related civil cases in February to determine if additional evidence would be allowed in the case. In the original civil case, Hetrick’s attorneys filed a request Wednesday seeking additional time to respond to a motion by the ODA to reconsider a previous motion to dismiss the case.
The oral arguments are set for 9 a.m. on June 15.
Great news from Kenny Hetrick and Tiger Ridge!!!
Here’s their post on FB:
WE HAVE SUCH GREAT NEWS TO REPORT!!!
WE HAVE BEEN GRANTED TO ALLOW ALL!!! EVIDENCE TO BE ADMITTED INTO COURT!!!
Everything we brought into court in February, has been allowed in, this is HUGE!!! because it’s everything oda didn’t allow in the admin hearings. This is what PROVES our case!!!
We cannot be more happier right now AND the fact we can add additional evidence which we have a lot more of!!! Things are looking up!!! Thanks to all our supporters, we wouldn’t be here without you!!! Good news has been a long time coming but here is a big ray of sunshine. Attny Novak has been amazing and keeping up the fight for the animals to be returned home!!
Our final court date has been set for Aug 9th!!! Stay tuned, way more to come. Oda has not seen the last of us!!! share-share-share the great news!!! Every single supporter is a blessing!!!”
Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinions of others…Stay tuned -B