Interview With Aya Katz About The Ohio Exotic Animal Ban

Recently I have noticed my friend Aya Katz has been writing blog posts about her concerns with the HSUS, which made me wonder why she is talking about this.  Whereas I do think the HSUS and other organizations advocating for animals might have good intentions when it comes to their causes, the problem with worldviews is these often can be in conflict with others.  If we only hear one side of the story, we might not realize that others do not always agree with the agenda one organization declares to be the best way of doing things.  It is troubling to hear that the HSUS does not contribute much to local animals shelters, and that might be something people want to keep in mind when making donations.  Also, recently I have heard that both PETA and HSUS euthanize a large number of animals.  Since these organizations claim to be in favor of animal rights, I have to admit this is a bit troubling. Here are a couple of article on this subject.

I know some people get into the animal rights versus animal welfare argument, but my stance is simply that a large numbers of animals should not be euthanized when we could do more to create shelters, and open spaces where unwanted animals could live.  This is purely my take on the issue because I do not have a political stance on this at all, but it is good to have more information about the policies that the HSUS supports, especially since they are in favor of banning private citizens from owning exotic animals in Ohio.  This state has recently passed a law that will confiscate exotic animals from owners who have had them for years, and it sounds to be a little heavy handed.

Today I decided to ask Aya Katz a few questions about her views on the exotic animal ban in Ohio, and how this will impact animal owners.

1. Why do you view the HSUS as doing more harm than good for animals. I think some people would like to know what policies they support that are not beneficial for animals, as you have observed. I ask this because most people think they just want to help stray dogs and cats.

HSUS has consistently supported policies that are not in the best interest of animals, that lead to
their death or sterilization, and whose purpose seems to be to limit the number of non-humans
on the planet, with the ultimate goal that most people can have no animals to interact with.

Even in their policies with domestic animals of the most common sort, their first goal is to
make sure that all dogs and cats are neutered and spayed. They then go after breeders, calling
them puppy and kitten mills, because they make their living helping these species to procreate.
Well, if there are no accidental, unplanned pregnancies among dogs and cats, and if the price of
breeding becomes prohibitive due to unreasonable requirements, how many dogs and cats do
you think will remain, after all the policies are implemented? They are not trying to help. Their
policies, if left unchecked, would lead to extinction.

In the case of dogs and cats, HSUS has recruited the average dog or cat owner to spread their
message, because they are not open about their ultimate goal. Many good people actually buy
into these policies, and they try to shame other people into having their pets spayed and
neutered. One of the little known secrets is that spaying is a very invasive surgery; it requires
complete anesthesia, and many simply don’t wake up after the surgery. I have spoken to dog
breeders and they have told me this. The risks of spaying are not shared with the public.

HSUS says that they are concerned with “animal rights” and they often purport to speak for the
animals, while by-passing the rights of owners. But if you put yourself into the mind of a dog
or a cat, do you think they would want to have themselves castrated or de-sexed? It’s really not
just about reproductive rights. It is about altering the brain chemistry of an animal and
depriving them of important creative outlets for thought as well as action. Neutering and
spaying changes the personality. I support an owner’s right to neuter or spay their own dog or
cat, if they feel it is necessary for their own population control, but in that case they are
overriding the desires of their animals. As the caretaker of the animal, they have that right to do
that. But HSUS speaks of “animal rights” – not owner rights. If the animals were asked, they
would not want this. Clearly, HSUS is not better in touch with what a dog or cat would want
than an owner who has a relationship with the dog or cat in question. Their talk about animal
rights is a total deception. They have killed more dogs and cats than anyone else. Killing an
animal to protect its “rights” makes no sense at all.

In the case of exotic animals, HSUS is less reserved about its ultimate goals. They come right
out and say that ordinary people should not have exotic animals. And they will stop at nothing –
including killing innocent animals – to make that goal a reality.

The Ohio law, sponsored by HSUS, banning the sale, ownership and breeding of exotic animals
will take full effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Owners of exotic animals will lose their pets; the pets are
going to be housed in a closed facility that looks like a high security penitentiary, and if no
sanctuary or zoo will take them, they will be put to death. The sanctuaries and zoos are already
full. Death to all the exotic animals confiscated is the ultimate goal.

I don’t know how to express my feelings about this strongly enough. Maybe you will
understand better if you watch this video about how very much these owners love their animals
and to what extent that love is returned.

2. How is the exotic animal ban in Ohio unconstitutional, and how might this affect people in other

The exotic animal law in Ohio involves a taking of property without due process. It is an
arbitrary and capricious redistribution of property. These animals and their owners have done
nothing wrong. They have hurt no one else. They have trespassed on no one’s rights. They have
behaved responsibly. And yet their animals are being taken from them by force, given to
someone else, and that someone else in most cases will end up killing them.

If redistribution of wealth is wrong, how much worse is redistribution of members of your own
family! There are emotional ties here with these animals. How can we condone this kind of
cruelty, sometimes even the taking of a child’s beloved pet?

The only thing that protects our animals from the state is our right to own them and be good
stewards. That’s why property rights and due process are so important!

3. Where is the funding coming for housing these exotic animals that are confiscated in Ohio,
especially when our economy is already having issues?

All of this is being done at the taxpayer expense. The facility for storing the animals
prior to killing them cost $2.9 million. And I am sure each confiscation and each
execution will also cost a pretty penny.

4. Why is it unfair to judge all exotic animal owners by the actions of a few people who did not
take good care of their animals?

One of the premises behind the American system of justice is that we are all presumed innocent until
we are found guilty. To make someone pay for the crimes of someone else, or even for their errors of
judgment, is not only wrong, it violates the most basic premise of a civilized nation. None of us can be
free if we are judged in advance for what other people have done.
And none of us can be free unless we care enough to stand up for other people’s rights when they are
being violated. I don’t live in Ohio, but I recognize this could happen to me next and to someone I care
very much about who lives in my house and shares my life.
You may not have an exotic animal and may not wish to ever own one. But it affects you, too. When all
the exotics are gone, they will go after the dogs and the cats, too. And even if you are not an animal
lover at all, don’t think for a moment that they won’t go after whatever it is that matters to you. Property
rights and civil rights are being violated. The law is a giant web. Pull out one thread and it all unravels.
We have to stand up for the rights of other people, because if we don’t, then no one will be left to stand
up for ours. We’re in this together!



2 Replies to “Interview With Aya Katz About The Ohio Exotic Animal Ban”

  1. Today is the day the confiscations begin–January 1st, 2014. I remember thinking about this day way back in the fall of 2012, thinking how far away it seems and how it would almost certainly be overturned. Unfortunately, that never happened. We failed, and it’s only going to get worse.

    I keep exotic snakes. None of them are on “the list”, but I would have loved to keep other exotics someday. People, most of these animals are harmless, happy, and healthy–you CANNOT believe everything animal rights organizations spit out! Please! We love these animals, and they love us! Aya is right; it won’t stop here. Exotics owners, we need to rally together. HSUS is a , but someone’s got to be able to beat them.

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