Williston Roadside Zoo and Circus Exhibitor Fined in Severe Elephant Attack

Sixth Attack—Two of Which Were Fatal—at Facility and Its Affiliate

For Immediate Release:
May 19, 2014

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Williston, Fla. – Brooksville resident Diane Bedard was hospitalized and unable to speak for nearly two months after the August 26, 2013, attack on her by an elephant at the Williston-based Two Tails Ranch, which is run by Patricia Zerbini. Because of the incident—which a whistleblower reported to PETA, which then reported it to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—Zerbini was cited for failure to maintain safe barriers between the animals and visitors and ordered to pay a fine, a newly released USDA record reveals. The elephant, a 13,000-pound male named Rajah, reportedly has a history of aggressive behavior toward both humans and other elephants. Zerbini is affiliated with the notorious Tarzan Zerbini Circus, and both have long histories of being cited for animal-protection violations.

“Two Tails Ranch and its affiliate Tarzan Zerbini Circus have miserable records of violating federal law by allowing elephant attacks and other dangerous incidents to occur,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “The animals suffering at this deplorable facility should be moved to sanctuaries.”

According to a whistleblower, when Rajah first arrived at Two Tails from Ringling Bros. circus, he spent weeks in chains because he was too high-strung to approach. When Zerbini got close to him, he reportedly threw things at her and tried to grab her. The whistleblower also told PETA that Rajah had been brought to Two Tails for breeding on a previous occasion but was too aggressive with the female elephants. The same person reported that Rajah—like all elephants used in entertainment—spends excessive time in chains, which experts recognize makes elephants and other exotic animals who are used to roaming vast home ranges more prone to unpredictable and potentially dangerous behavior.

This is the sixth confirmed serious elephant attack associated with the Zerbinis—resulting in at least two deaths.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind