After Woman Is Nearly Killed by Elephant, USDA Slaps Owner With Penalty
Patricia Zerbini let a frustrated captive elephant nearly kill a woman. Now it’s Zerbini’s turn to pay.
Zerbini reportedly knew that Rajah, a male Asian elephant, was aggressive since Rajah was first transferred to her Two Tails Ranch near Gainesville, Florida, from Ringling Bros. Zerbini reportedly said that Rajah threw things at her and tried to grab her. As a result, Zerbini reportedly forced Rajah to spend weeks in chains, which likely only added to his aggression. But Zerbini still left a visitor named Diane Bedard unattended, and Bedard got close to Rajah’s enclosure to take pictures—which nearly became the last thing she ever did.
According to a whistleblower who contacted PETA, Bedard was standing next to Rajah’s enclosure when the elephant reached through the fence bars, grabbed Bedard, and smashed her against the fence. Bedard was found crumpled on the ground, nearly dead from her injuries. She spent months in the hospital and is lucky to be alive.
Zerbini is lucky that Bedard lived, too, because she likely would have faced serious charges had Bedard died. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture is still slapping Zerbini with a fine for keeping Rajah in an enclosure that didn’t provide him or the public with adequate protection.
What You Can Do
Never visit roadside zoos, even if they claim to be “sanctuaries” or “refuges.” True sanctuaries are rarely open to the public and never breed animals or display them at fairs, shopping malls, or circuses.