Wild animals that have been part of the Bartholomew County Fair for nearly three decades are conspicuously absent this year.
Wildlife rehabilitator Jim Mahoney and his wife, Nancy, have withdrawn their exhibit after learning that state law prohibits the display of wild animals without proper licensing.
Some animals can be displayed without a permit, but deer and raccoons require a game breeder license.
Bartholomew County Conservation Council President Ron Briner says organizers canceled the exhibit after other fairs approached the Department of Natural Resources about setting up similar exhibits and were told they couldn't do so.
DNR Operations Staff Specialist Linnea Petercheff tells The Republic that the law is designed to protect the long-term health of wild animals and ensure their ability to be released back into the wild.