Resident pleads for animal-free circus

To the Editor:

What comes to mind when you think of a circus? Clowns, animals doing amazing tricks, acrobats, cotton name it....the circus is fun. The big top and all the fun have been around for centuries. We've probably all gone to a circus as a kid. I even brought my children when they were younger.

Have you ever wondered how they make the animals do those amazing tricks? Picture a baby elephant with his legs tied so he is unable to move. The elephants are repeatedly beaten with bullhooks and sometimes even electro-shocked. The “trainers” need to break the elephant’s will by causing pain and fear which makes the poor animals submit. The gruesome details are too graphic to write about but any youtube video will confirm what is really going on behind the scenes.

Last year I met with Mayor Ben Blake, spoke at a Board of Aldermen meeting and made many attempts to have an ordinance put in effect to prevent the circus from coming back to Milford. There is an alternative to this cruel event. Cole Brothers has an animal-free circus called Circus of the Stars. It includes jugglers, acrobats, clowns, rides and all the fun of the circus minus the animals. I asked the mayor and the head of the Westfield Mall why couldn't we have that circus instead?

Within the past two weeks, Mayor Blake has met with members of Milford’s ordinance committee as well as the city attorney’s office to discuss legislative resolutions to issues concerning the treatment of animals.

Sadly the circus is coming back to town again in June. It doesn't seem to matter that Cole Brothers has had many citations for animal abuse, lack of water, food and veterinary care; it doesn't seem to matter that Cole Brothers had their USDA exhibitors license taken away and now lease their animals from Carson and Barnes Circus (another circus that has numerous abuse citations); it doesn't seem to matter that the owner of Coles John Pugh recently was fined $5,000, sentenced to three years probation and 100 hours of community service; it doesn't seem to matter that some of the elephants with Cole Brothers were tested positive for TB which is transmittable to humans and it is common for the trainers to have it as well.

I'm appealing to everyone’s compassion. Reach into your hearts and say to yourself, “This is wrong.” These poor, defenseless animals are suffering and if you go to the circus you will be supporting something that is terrible and cruel.

Go online and do research. You don't have to believe me. I'm just one person. But together we can make it so that in just one town, Milford, the circus will not be allowed to bring in their abused animals. We can make a change like in Winchester, Va. An owner of a mall had a big heart and would not allow Cole Brothers to bring the animals there. Instead they used Circus of the Stars and changed history. Let's do something amazing.

Lorrie Davies