Common sense should prevail over animal law

Forty-one-year-old Archie of Lodi, Ohio, may be this year’s poster bear for those who wonder whether our increasingly legalistic society requires a total abandonment of common sense.

Yes, bear. Archie is a black bear owned by Jeffrey and Debra Gillium. Under the state’s still relatively new exotic animals law, Department of Agriculture officials want to take him from the Gilliums.

That could be a death sentence for Archie, say the Gilliums. He is well over the average age for a black bear in the wild, which is 18. He has no teeth and is so old and domesticated he threatens no one, they say.

Tranquilizing Archie to move him or even to implant the microchip state officials insist he have could be fatal, the Gilliums argue.

A judge, saying he cannot rule against the state because it has not actually taken Archie yet, refused to issue an injunction preventing that from happening. State officials say they are deciding how to handle Archie.

Ohio’s limits on keeping exotic animals are reasonable, for the most part. They are important, as anyone who remembers the 2011 incident in which a deranged man freed dozens of lions, tigers, etc., near Zanesville understands. Most of them had to be killed.

But come on. The Gilliums have a point. They should be required to register Archie and ensure he cannot escape. Then, the old fellow ought to be allowed to live out his days with them, as proof common sense survives.