Judge orders man to get rid of exotic animals

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A judge has ordered the owner of an exotic animal farm to find a new home for his lions and tigers because he has not eliminated animal waste.
Lorenza Pearson's lawyer said he will ask the 9th Ohio District Court of Appeals to allow the animals to remain at L&L Exotic Animal Farm in Copley Township while it hears his appeal.
"It is cleaned up," William Whitaker said. "There is absolutely no evidence of any sanitary problem or health problem."
After numerous inspections since the fall of 2001, the Summit County Health Department determined the property is a public health nuisance and issued cleanup orders.
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Patricia Cosgrove had been trying to get both sides to resolve the issues until her ruling Tuesday.
Pearson has had trash bins with fecal and food waste picked up more frequently, no longer butchers dead animals for animal feed and cleaned up the area, Whitaker said.
But Whitaker said one area of contention between Pearson and health officials is an order that Pearson install an improved wastewater collection, treatment and disposal system.
Bob Hasenyager, a health department supervisor, said the caged animals are on concrete or dirt and their waste either goes into the ground or is washed into the ground.
"Each pen or enclosure needs to have a pad and all be drained so that when they rinse off those cages it will all drain to a waste-treatment system," Hasenyager said.
He said when the health department visited Pearson May 2 he had 48 animals -- 10 tigers, 10 lions, three leopards, six cougars, one lynx, one horse, 15 bears and two alligators.
Whitaker said only 30 lions and tigers and a few bears are housed there.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)