Circus Manager Cited Following PETA Complaint Based on Whistleblower Report
For Immediate Release:
May 28, 2013
David Perle 202-483-7382
Sarasota, Fla. — Zachary Garden, general manager of the notoriously cruel Sarasota-based Piccadilly Circus, is in hot water with the federal government again. After receiving a sworn affidavit from a whistleblower attesting to multiple beatings, systematic denial of veterinary care, and deaths of animals used in the circus, PETA filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). A report just released by the USDA cites Garden for eight new violations of the Animal Welfare Act—most of which are based on PETA’s complaint. One of the violations involved allowing a sheep with a painfully broken leg to suffer without ever receiving treatment.
“Piccadilly Circus is a pit of abuse, neglect, and death for animals,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “Children naturally love animals, so the last place that parents and grandparents should take them to is the circus.”
Also among Garden’s latest violations are severely crowding animals to the point that they couldn’t even make normal postural adjustments or turn around and would have trouble lying down or accessing water. Additionally, the inspector found meat intended for a tiger in a “dirty” cooler with no ice or freezer packs, resulting in a “foul odor.”
The whistleblower reported additional examples of abuse, including an incident just last month in which Garden beat a zebra backstage so savagely that the animal fell over and screamed. In another incident sworn to in the affidavit, a baby goat who had been paralyzed was left to die in the woods. And, around April 1, Garden struck a 2-year-old camel named Thor with the handle of a whip, causing the animal’s eye to bleed, according to the whistleblower. This isn’t the first time that such allegations have been made about Piccadilly. According to a 2012 letter from officials in Fort Wayne, Ind., a witness observed a handler with Piccadilly repeatedly strike an elephant on the trunk and face with a steel-tipped bullhook.
For more information about acts of animal abuse committed by Piccadilly Circus, please see PETA’s factsheet.