Group Declares That Brooksville's Ban on Keeping Wild and Exotic Animals Means Repeat Offender Is Required to Leave Elephants and Tigers Out of Show
For Immediate Release:
August 30, 2018
David Perle 202-483-7382
Brooksville, Fla. – Citing Brooksville’s prohibition on keeping exotic and wild animals, PETA sent a letter this morning urging the Hernando County Fairgrounds not to be complicit in violating the law and to require that Loomis Bros. Circus—which is slated to perform at the fairgrounds this weekend—put on a show without wild animals.
PETA notes that the circus is planning to perform with elephant and tiger acts supplied by the notorious Franzen Bros. Circus in defiance of the ban. Brian Franzen has been convicted of cruelty to animals and has been caught on video striking an elephant with a bullhook (a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end) and repeatedly whipping a tiger.
“The Hernando County Fairgrounds must not allow an out-of-town circus to come in and flout local laws designed to ensure public safety,” says PETA Foundation Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA reminds the venue that it faces potential liability if it allows Loomis Bros. Circus to drag its abusive animal acts into town.”
PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Hernando County Fair Association President Shari Klimas follows.
August 30, 2018
Hernando County Fair Association
Re: Brooksville Code Violations at Hernando County Fairgrounds
Dear Ms. Kilmas,
I’m writing on behalf of PETA and its more than 6.5 million members and supporters, including approximately 1,000 in the City of Brooksville, regarding your plans to host elephant and tiger acts in the Loomis Bros. Circus in defiance of local law, which strictly prohibits exotic and wild animals anywhere within city limits. See Article IV, Part 4, Section 4-8.12, Brooksville Land Development Code (LDC). The circus features elephant and tiger acts supplied by Franzen Bros. Circus, which has a well-documented history of public endangerment and animal abuse. Should the fairgrounds go forward with hosting these acts despite the law, it faces potential liability.
The LDC exists to “foster and preserve public health, safety, comfort, and welfare,” id. Article I, Part 1, Section 1-2.4(B), and the wild and exotic animals ban is wholly consistent with this purpose. Captive elephants and big cats are dangerous animals who have cause dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries to humans in the United States. An elephant named Carol fatally crushed a trainer in Fort Lauderdale. In Palm Bay, an elephant rampaged with children on her back. She injured 12 people and threw a police officer to the ground before the officer was forced to shoot and kill her. Indeed, Brian Franzen, himself required stitches after being clawed by a tiger during a circus show—and his father was mauled to death in front of 200 terrified school children.
Franzen also has a history of abusive handling, which can provoke aggression. He was convicted of animal cruelty, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture took enforcement action against Franzen Bros. after a handler struck an elephant multiple times in the face with a bullhook. Franzen was recently filmed repeatedly whipping and jabbing at tiger and jabbing an elephant in the jaw. Just this summer, he reportedly beat an elephant in the head after two elephants began to fight on stage.
Given Brooksville’s strict prohibition on exotic and wild animals, and the potential liability faced by the fairgrounds should it allow violations of that prohibition, I strongly urge you to rethink your plans to host the elephant and tiger acts. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Very truly yours,
Delcianna Winders, Esq.
Vice President and Deputy General Counsel
Captive Animal Law Enforcement