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Environment & Energy

Ohio Department of Agriculture Removes 10 Exotic Animals From a Stark County Farm

photo of Cyndi Hunstman

  One of the farms that supplied live tiger mascots for Massillon High School has been raided by authorities.

Stump Hill Farm in Perry Township had been trying to gain Zoological Association of America certification.

In 2012, the state passed a law banning ownership of exotic or potentially dangerous animals. Stump Hill said it was an educational facility which should be exempt. Among other things, the farm supplied Obie the Tiger, the mascot for Massillon’s football team.

Ohio Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Erika Hawkins says the certification was denied earlier this year.

“We recently got information from the owner that the application for membership had been denied. So there doesn't appear to be any path forward toward that accreditation."

The Department of Agriculture came today to confiscate the animals.

“Five tigers, two cougars, two baboons and a chimpanzee. They will be moved, temporarily, to the state's holding facility."

And from there, Hawkins says the animals will get permanent homes in sanctuaries -- a process that has already started but can sometimes take more than a month. She adds that the department has no jurisdiction over non-exotic animals at Stump Hill, such as camels.

Stump Hill Farm did not return a call for comment.