Circus animals banned from Westchester County Center
Action Alerts From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

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Circus animals banned from Westchester County Center

From: Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)
March 2, 2020

THANK YOU re 'Circus animals banned from Westchester County Center'!

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard on this issue over the last several years. It has been a tough road for the animals. Progress, both for people and animals, is a long race, not a short one - can take years, decades, centuries. Our persistence paid off, as it very often does.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
- Mahatma Gandhi

Please send THANKS to Legislator Damon Maher, who drafted the lead legislation on this ground-breaking bill that will cover the entire county and not just County Center [email protected]

And please add a comment to this article: Circus animals banned from Westchester County Center:

County Executive George Latimer announces an executive order banning the use of exotic animals for performances at the Westchester County Center, Feb. 28, 2020 in White Plains. The Journal News

WHITE PLAINS – If the circus ever comes to town again, it’ll be without the lion taming, tiger tricks and other exotic animal performances.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer signed an executive order Friday that bans performing animals at the Westchester County Center and all county-owned property.

“We have seen a greater sensitivity to how animals are being treated in performing roles over the years,” Latimer said before signing the order in the lobby of the center. “We have as a society evolved in our thinking on the issue.”

The move comes two weeks after the Royal Hanneford Circus came to the center for eight shows over three days on Valentine’s Day weekend, complete with lions and white tigers. The county center has hosted the circus for 50 years, according to officials.

Latimer said he’d welcome Hanneford or another circus back without the banned wild and exotic animals, which include chimpanzees, monkeys and giraffes. Elephants have been prohibited in circuses in New York State since last year.

The executive order only applies to county-owned properties and could be repealed by a future executive, but Westchester lawmakers are discussing making the ban permanent through a law and applying the prohibition to all properties within the county.

A bill spearheaded by legislators Damon Maher and Margaret Cunzio was proposed on Monday and referred to legislative committees for discussion. It is likely to be amended before it goes to a public hearing and vote but has wide support out of the gate.

The executive order doesn’t apply to events at the county center such as the lizard and reptile expo or pet adoption events.

Ernest Lungaro, of the SPCA humane law enforcement unit, said he believed many people would be against the use of the animals if they knew more about how they were trained.

“That’s what the public really doesn’t see is the harsh treatment sometimes of these animals that are performing,” he said.

The news conference was cut short when legislature Vice Chairwoman Alfreda Williams collapsed. She was responsive as an ambulance arrived at the center and home later in the afternoon, a spokesman said.

The activist group Animal Defenders of Westchester has lobbied for an executive order for several years, but Latimer said his staff took the time to discuss and consider the move.

A previousbill was proposed in the legislature but never made it past the committee stage in 2018. One ban affecting the county center came to pass more quickly in 2018 when Latimer first took office.

One of the executive's first acts was to sign an executive order that banned gun shows at the center and other county-owned property after a debate over hosting the shows under his predecessor, Republican Rob Astorino.

Latimer's executive order was followed by a county law later that same year.

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