Beatings Reported at Allentown-Bound Circus—PETA Offers Reward for More Information

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

For Immediate Release:
April 22, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Allentown, Penn. — Based on a sworn affidavit from a whistleblower who reported that the general manager of Piccadilly Circus—which is set to begin performances in Allentown on Tuesday—and others routinely physically abuse and egregiously neglect suffering animals, PETA has submitted a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to the whistleblower, animals used by Piccadilly are routinely denied necessary 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. Animals are also reportedly routinely beaten whenever their performances are “slightly off,” including a zebra named Ziggy, who was held in place by a circus worker while being beaten by Zack Garden, owner of the animals and Piccadilly’s general manager, so savagely that the animal fell over and screamed on Thursday, April 11, backstage during a performance in Waterbury, Conn. 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.

“Children love animals and would be deeply upset to hear of cruelty toward them in the circus,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “PETA has filed a federal complaint but is meanwhile urging families to keep their kids 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 finally died.
  • Rain, a lone tiger who is kept caged almost constantly, has a persistent cut 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.

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