Mayor: Circus allowed to use elephants

PETA alleges violation of city ordinance

Despite allegations made by PETA, Morgan City Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi says the circus coming to the city Monday won’t violate any law with its use of elephants.

The Daily Review received an email Thursday from David Perle of PETA saying that the animal rights organization sent a letter to Grizzaffi calling on him to ensure that Garden Bros. Circus, which is scheduled to perform at the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium this Monday, leaves elephants out of the show.

Shows are scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Monday.

PETA alleged that having elephants in the show would violate a city ban on harboring wild animals within the city limits.

Grizzaffi said Friday morning that Garden Bros. Circus applied for a permit with the city and has a contract with the auditorium. Nothing in a city ordinance prohibits the circus from having elephants in a show, Grizzaffi said.

“Legally, I have no options when someone’s adhering by the law,” Grizzaffi said.

Grizzaffi received multiple emails from PETA about the circus but said he didn’t respond to any of them.

PETA further alleged that the city could be held legally accountable for allowing elephants in the circus.

“PETA is alerting Mayor Grizzaffi that if Morgan City allows this circus to drag its abusive elephant act into town in violation of the law, it could be held accountable for creating a nuisance,” said Rachel Mathews, PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement, in a news release.

"If Garden Bros. Circus won’t perform without elephants, it shouldn’t be performing at all,” Mathews said.

Grizzaffi said the circus would in no way be violating a city ordinance.

“Right now, the ordinance does not prohibit a circus from having animals,” the mayor said.

“And they followed all the steps necessary to secure a site, sign a contract, follow all the guidelines, get all the permits. So, as far as the Garden Bros. Circus is concerned, they’ve done everything legally to perform,” Grizzaffi said.

Any changes to a city ordinance would have to come before the city council and could not be done by the mayor, he said.

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