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Friday, May 14, 2010

THE SHOW GOES ON!



Circus show will go on, despite calls for cancellation

By Charles Schillinger (Staff Writer)

Published: May 13, 2010
Local animal rights activists are petitioning to have a circus performance at PNC Field canceled after handlers lost control of an elephant two weeks ago in Virginia.
However, SBW Yankees LLC, which manages the stadium operations, said Wednesday the show will go on.

The "Circus of the Stars" show is performed by the DeLand, Fla.-based Cole Bros. Circus and will run May 21-23.
Cole Bros. performed at PNC Field last year without incident, said Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre team President Kristin Rose.
"There were a lot of families out there that enjoyed it, and lots of happy kids," she said.
During a performance on April 27 in Lynchburg, a Cole Bros. elephant, Viola, was scared by a rabbit and ran off, about 200 yards away from the circus area.
Renee Storey, vice president of administration for Cole Bros. Circus, said officials aren't sure what happened.
"I was not there. I think Viola just wanted to go check something out," Ms. Storey said. "There was never danger to the public, to the circus people or to the elephant."
Animal rights activists say the elephant was injured during a fall in Lynchburg, but Ms. Storey said Viola suffered only a broken toenail.
"Animal activists have been known to make complaints and that's OK, that's their right," Ms. Storey said.
"Generally, they make complaints and it gets us publicity. We try to look on the bright side."
While no one was injured in the Lynchburg incident, animal rights activist Lisa Walker of Clarks Summit said people have been hurt in other elephant incidents.
Ms. Walker pointed to an unrelated incident in Wilkes-Barre on April 9, in which a startled elephant named Dumbo kicked and killed its groomer, 48-year-old An- drew Anderton of Florida, prior to an Irem Shrine Circus show.
Ms. Walker said the group has no problem with human circus performers, but objects to the use of animals, which can be unpredictable and also have the potential to hurt people.
Animal rights activist Silvie Pomicter of South Abington Twp. said she was particularly concerned if the Cole Bros. elephant, Viola, would be giving rides to children at the local show.
"If an elephant is going to be scared by a rabbit, why should parents be putting their children on top of an elephant?" asked Ms. Pomicter, president of Voice of the Animals, a regional animal rights and welfare group.
Ms. Rose said SWB Yankees LLC would not be placing requirements on what the circus could and could not do during its performance.
"The actual things that go on with the circus, we leave up to the professionals who run the circus," she said.
Ms. Storey said the elephants are "in general very, very calm," adding that Cole Bros. would be offering elephant rides to the public. She encouraged anyone to come out, free of charge, to Moosic from 6 to 11 a.m. on Friday, May 21, when Cole Bros. will be raising its tent, to see how the animals are treated.
Contact the writer: cschillinger @timesshamrock.com

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