By ANN SANNER
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An attorney for seven exotic animal owners says his clients are considering next steps after a federal appeals court in Ohio upheld the state's restrictions on keeping the creatures.
Attorney Robert Owens says the owners may appeal to the full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
The owners sued the state over the regulations, arguing that the law violates their free speech and free association rights.
On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court ruled against the owners.
Ohio defended the law as addressing animal welfare, public health and public safety concerns associated with private ownership of dangerous wild animals.
A spokeswoman for Ohio's Department of Agriculture says it is pleased with the ruling and hopes the state can move forward with continuing the law's enforcement.