LIMA — Allen County is one step closer to forming a new Dangerous Wild Animal Response Team, thanks to the Ohio Revised Code, which dictates every Ohio county form one.
Allen County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management Director Russ Decker announced nominated members of the group during the weekly Allen County commissioners meeting on Wednesday.
“This new state law is in response to exotic animals that were released into Muskingum County a few years ago that created quite an event down there,” Decker said. “Basically, this law has created each county to have a Dangerous Wild Animal Response Team. The purpose of that team is to develop a plan for each county on how they will respond to dangerous wild animal events.”
Nominated members include law enforcement, media members and an exotic animal owner. Decker said as far as exotic animals go, there are only three monkeys registered in Allen County. The response team will decide what’s best in certain wild animal situations, whether exotic or wild.
“What are we going to do if we have a black bear in Allen County? Or more realistically, what do we do when we have coyotes infiltrating highly populated areas, like the city? How are we going to handle these types of events?” Decker said. “We need a plan so law enforcement knows what our preference is going to be. Are we going to capture these, are we going to tranquilize them, or just go ahead and put an animal down? Those are things we’ll be looking at.”
The state will approve the appointments made to the team, and Decker expects the first meeting to take place this fall. The response team will then have until the end of February to develop a plan for the county to submit to the state.