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Animal Trader Sues City Over Elephant Swap

August 13, 1986

A Florida animal trader has sued the City of Los Angeles for $100,000--and an elephant named Joyce.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles federal court by Gary Jacobson of Melbourne, Fla., says he made a deal with then-Zoo Director Dr. Warren Thomas to trade the Greater Los Angeles Zoo four baby elephants for a female elephant named Joyce and a male named Samson, who had no offspring.

But the deal fell through.

Samson died en route to Florida. Joyce never was shipped. And after the male elephant's death it was disclosed that Thomas had approved the swap without approval of the city Recreation and Parks Commission.

Commission members said the unapproved deal was one of the reasons Thomas was fired from his $73,000-a-year job June 4. But Jacobson said that was all beside the point.

He still wants Joyce. And $100,000 in damages. . . .

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