Blayne Doyle, a retired Florida police officer, had several harrowing experiences during his many years on the force. He was shot and stabbed and was involved in life-threatening automobile, motorcycle, and airplane accidents. But if you were to ask him which event stuck out as the most frightening, he would tell you that it was the day he was forced to shoot and kill an 8,000-pound rampaging elephant named Janet, who was carrying a woman and five children on her back. Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of this tragic event. Sadly, not much has changed in the intervening years. For example, the Liebel Family Circus, which tours throughout Florida, is currently using an elephant named Nosey to give rides.
Blayne has reached out to the governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, asking him to ban elephant rides in Florida.
The most shocking part to me is that, in 2004, a circus worker reported that Nosey attacked him during an appearance in Clinton, Iowa. While the worker was tending to the elephant’s water dish, Nosey hit him with her tusk, lifted him off his feet, and propelled him down an incline. The worker was rushed to the hospital and received stitches for a head injury. But somehow it’s safe to let children ride on Nosey’s back? I don’t think so.
So, Gov. Crist, won’t you please ban elephant rides in Florida? By doing so, not only will you send the powerful message that elephants should not be abused for entertainment, you might also prevent history from repeating itself.
Written by Liz Graffeo