PETA says elephant on Pinellas beach was dangerous situation - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

PETA says elephant on Pinellas beach was dangerous situation

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REDINGTON BEACH, FL (WFLA) - PETA has issued complaints to state and federal officials saying that an elephant photographed on a Pinellas County beach last weekend was a "potentially deadly situation."

The 58-year-old elephant named Judy was rented out for a birthday party on Redington Beach on Saturday, May 17. Beachgoers captured photos of the rare scene as the elephant waded in the gulf.

PETA has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture asking for an immediate investigation into Judy's handler, Bones Craig, and whether he broke any federal laws protecting elephants and members of the public.

PETA has also filed a complaint with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"Many captive elephants are accidents waiting to happen, and you never know which ones will attack, even if they've exhibited a docile personality for years," says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. "Allowing a 6,200-pound, fiercely strong animal to roam the beach unsupervised could easily have ended in tragedy."

According to PETA, the Animal Welfare Act states elephants must be handled so that there is "sufficient distance and/or barriers between the animal and the general viewing public so as to assure the safety of animals and the public."

PETA also reminds the agency that during "public exhibition, dangerous animals such as … elephants must be under the direct control and supervision of a knowledgeable … animal handler."

PETA says elephants are generally trained with the use of bullhooks—weapons with a sharp, metal hook on one end—and electric prods and perform tricks and give rides in order to avoid severe beatings. Experts recognize that these abusive practices can result in aggression. An attack by an elephant in Levy County last fall left a woman hospitalized with near fatal injuries and unable to speak, PETA says.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.



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