Daniel Chambers, owner of four bears seized in a raid this week from his German Twp. home, says he plans to fight back with legal action.

Exotic animals owner: ‘I’m filing multi-million dollar lawsuit’

  • ODA: Daniel Chambers did not have permit for exoitic animals
  • Chambers was ordered in June to quarantine bears
  • Owner said he saved the bears

UPDATE @ 11:45 a.m. (Oct. 9)

Chambers said in an interview Friday morning, he will be filing a “multi-million dollar lawsuit” against the state of Ohio, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and supporters of the law including Gov. John Kasich and area senators.

“I’m more than hurt I’m devastated,” Chambers told News Center 7 Reporter Andy Sedlak. “I mean I put 10 years into this out of my own pocket. This is all I do. I work and I take care of these guys.”

Chambers estimated his spending on the exotic animals at $50,000 a year.

“They’re terrorists … they come in here at gunpoint and they robbed me,” Chambers said of the animal raid.

Chambers said he’s working with several attorneys on action to take.

“I’m going to take from them what they took from me,” Chambers said. “They’re going to lose their house, they’re going to lose their cars. They’re going to lose the battle. They’re not invincible.”

Chambers said for nine years he legally owned the animals by obtaining a license, but then the law changed.

“We tried to abide by the law,” Chambers said, by registering the animals and micro chipping the animals.

EARLIER REPORT

Ohio Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Erica Hawkins said Daniel Chambers was not in compliance with the state’s Dangerous Wild Animal Act because he did not have a permit to own exotic animals on his property. Chambers was one of seven exotic animal owners who was ordered in June to quarantine the animals in June.

Four bears, including three black bears and a Syrian brown bear, were seized Wednesday. Chambers was also cited for a tiger and a cougar in June, but Chambers said the tiger died and he loaned the cougar to Heaven’s Corner in West Alexandria. That animal has since been seized from that property.

“I’m still in shock and overwhelmed,” said Chambers, who was out of town Wednesday when his animals were seized. “I can’t believe the justice system allowed this to happen.”

The animals were transferred to the state’s temporary holding facility in Reynoldsburg, Hawkins said.

The bears were seized after authorities served a search warrant at Chambers’ home on South Preble County Line Road early Wednesaday morning.

Chambers’ wife, Ashley, was at home Wednesday during the seizure. She said she looked out her front door and saw armed officers lined up around the property. Officers used sniper guns with darts to tranquilize the bears, which were then dragged into trailers, she said.

“We tried to comply with the law,” Ashley said. “My husband submitted the proper paperwork that they asked for, but they never let us know that it wasn’t completed correctly … By the time they did, it was after the deadline.”

Ashley said her husband issued new paperwork, but state officials wouldn’t accept it, saying it was too late to apply.

Ashley said they were told they would be notified when the state would come to take the animals. She said they didn’t receive any notification, otherwise her husband would have been home to help in any way with the animals.

“They’re treating us like criminals,” she said. “They came on our property. They barged in. They cut fence. They didn’t go about it the proper way.”

Chambers said he acquired his first bear about nine years ago, buying it from someone in Greenfield, Ohio, who planned to shoot the bear while it hibernated in a cage and later have it stuffed.

The other bears had similar fates, Chambers said, before he “saved” them and moved them to his property. He created a gofundme.com page in an effort to raise money for the legal battle to keep his animals.

Following the raid, Chambers said he couldn’t describe the depression he was feeling, but vowed, “I’m not going to let them get away with this.”

“They think they’re immortal and they’re not,” Chambers said.

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