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After Woman Is Nearly Killed by Elephant, USDA Slaps Owner With Penalty

Written by PETA | May 19, 2014

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.

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  • ingrid meijer says:

    We are not surprised that elephants get agressieve if they can’t do what they supposed to do.Freedom with the family roaming in the nature. It is logical that an elephants karakter change

  • Nicola Richardson says:

    It is no wonder this happens, these animals are meant to roam, to move, not to be shackled . Really this is slow torture….we are teaching them to hate us, not trust us, of course they are going to lash out ….they do not understand WHY we are doing this to them ….and as a result the anger builds, the frustration of not being able to move must be ENORMOUS. The humans incarcerating this beautiful being are responsible for this death, NOT the tortured being held against his/her will.

  • cinedwards says:

    She should be closed down. Remove all animals from her grasp—I cannot use the word CARE. I hope it is a hefty fine

  • Lisa loviglio says:

    If the elephants weren’t abused they wouldn’t act out ! No one deserves to keep and elephant or any animal – and by no stretch of the imagination should they be mistreating it because it doesn’t belong to them in the first place !!

  • Dianna says:

    Who is coming to the rescue of this elephant????? What can we do, please…

  • steph says:

    Let the elephant become free!its not their right to keep them chained and abused!

  • Elephants and other wild creatures should be free, who cares if we don’t have a zoo ;)!!!

  • Julie Martenson says:

    The USDA is just as responsible for allowing animals to be used like this.

  • michelle says:

    How many times does this have to happen before they realize these animals should not be in captivity. They are intelligent, family oriented and roam huge spaces. You can’t put criminals in solitary for long periods of time because its unethical and considered cruel and unusual punishment. What it even worse these beautiful animals have son nothing and are forced to live their whole life in solitarily.

  • jill hammett says:

    These places should be closed down immediately, !

  • Gerry says:

    Wrong wrong wrong…enough cruelty to these intelligent animals…a fine and penalty? He should be banned and all animals in his keeping should be transferred to a sanctuary.

  • Donna Leonard says:

    Poor elephants! They should not be used and abused!! Ban elephants from entertainment of any kind!!

  • Julie says:

    What’s happened to the poor elephant?

  • terry grimes says:

    does anyone know the current state of the situation? I the elephant still at this facility? Is it still being shackled? Is there anywhere else he could go?

  • sharon chang says:

    not enough!take the elephant away from the scumbag!

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