Beating of Zebra by Piccadilly Circus Manager Reported—PETA Offers Reward for Information

Group Files Federal Complaint After Eyewitness Reports That Animals Were Beaten, Kicked, Sick, and Left to Die

For Immediate Release:
April 23, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Waterbury, Conn. — Based on a sworn affidavit from a whistleblower who reported that Piccadilly Circus General Manager Zack Garden beat a zebra backstage during the circus’s April 11 performance in Waterbury so savagely that the animal fell over and screamed, PETA has submitted a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to the whistleblower, the animal—named Ziggy—jumped out of the ring during an evening performance, after which a Piccadilly supervisor held him down backstage while Garden struck him with a 3-foot rod until the animal fell down and wailed. When Ziggy got up, Garden struck him at least two more times. The whistleblower further reported that physical abuse in the circus is routine and that he never saw the animals used by Piccadilly receive veterinary care, including a sheep who suffered from a broken leg for at least two weeks and was left to give birth to a lamb in the back of a truck with no treatment for her injuries. PETA is offering a $5,000 reward for more information about neglect and other abuse of animals by Piccadilly staff that leads to a conviction.

“Circus handlers use violence, fear, and pain to keep animals under control—and to punish them for not obeying,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “PETA has filed a formal complaint with the federal government but meanwhile urges families to stay far away from Piccadilly Circus.”

Further incidents attested to in the affidavit include the following:

  • On April 1, Garden struck a 2-year-old camel named Thor with the handle of a whip causing the animal’s eye to bleed, and a suffering baby goat named Salem, who had been paralyzed in a transportation accident, was left to die in the woods.
  • In December 2012, a llama named Spot developed “uncontrollable” diarrhea, received no veterinary care, was left to lie in his own waste, and died.
  • Rain, a lone tiger who is kept caged almost constantly, has a persistent wound on her nose from rubbing it on the bars of the cages. Despite USDA orders to treat her injury, she has received no veterinary care.
  • This past winter, Garden instructed an employee to carry a dying sheep into the woods, cut the ID tag from his ear, and leave him to die.

For more information, please visit PETA’s blog.

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