Belmont County Wild Animal Task Force Look for Board Member, Must Own Exotic Animal


The Belmont County Wild Animal Task Force has members from many walks of life. 

It’s a group that came into being after the tragic wild animal release, and subsequent shootings, in the Zanesville area four years ago.

A veterinarian, a fire chief, the head of the health department, the 911 director, the dog warden, an EMA director, a deputy sheriff and WTRF’s own D.K. Wright make up the members of the board. 

The mission is to make sure nothing like the Terry Thompson tragedy ever happens again. However, at least one more person is needed on the board – someone who owns an exotic animal.

“As part of the requirement by the Ohio Revised Code, one of the board members has to be an exotic animal owner,” said DWART Task Force Chairmain Deputy Tom DeVaul. “We’re not just looking for one, but we would accept numerous people because we’re dealing with animals that we really don’t have much knowledge about. Anyone who can assist us with this, whether it be a reptile or a snake or the exotic animal, we’ll take any assistance we can from them.”

Everything from hyenas, lions and tigers to Komodo dragons and African wild dogs constitutes as an exotic animal.

If you own an exotic animal and you’d like to join the task force, call the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department at 740 695-7933 and ask for Deputy Tom DeVaul.

The task force meets only once a year.

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