COLUMBUS — Nearly eight months after making international news when lions, leopards, tigers, and other wild animals were set loose on the Zanesville countryside, Ohio has its first law restricting ownership of such creatures.

Private acquisition or transfer of animals such as this tiger at Stump Hill Farm in Massillon, Ohio, would be prohibited under the law. Current owners may keep animals if they comply with new rules.

Gov. John Kasich signed a law Tuesday that would, beginning in 2014, bar individuals from acquiring or transferring ownership of wild animals including bears, big cats, crocodiles, elephants, and most apes. Current owners could keep their animals if they acquire state permits and comply with new rules on caging, insurance, and other restrictions.

The law allows but restricts acquisition, ownership, and breeding of constricting snakes longer than 12 feet, including anacondas and pythons, as well as certain poisonous snakes.

In the meantime, owners of such animals would have to register them with the state within 60 days of the law’s effective date. The law will take effect in 90 days.

“Those 38 hours, I’ll never forget. I dream about it … ” Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, said of that night in Zanesville as law enforcement shot the animals to protect the public.

“This wasn’t just the state of Ohio — everyone,” he said. “It wasn’t just the United States. This is the world watching. What you’re setting here is precedent for those states that have no laws as well. God forbid that anything would ever happen in those states.”

Opponents of the law have argued that it goes too far, punishing responsible animal owners because of the misdeeds of a few and trampling on individual property rights.

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Cyndi Huntsman, owner and president of Stump Hill Farm in Massillon, said the law will put the nonprofit organization — with some 300 lions, camels, tigers, birds, bears, reptiles, and other animals — out of business. She is accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture but not the two zoological associations that can lead to exemptions under the law.