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Circus barred from bringing animals to Glendale; camel escape lingers

November 10, 2013|By Britanny Levine

There will be no animals at the Ramos Bros. Circus set to return to Glendale this week.

City officials requested that the zebras, horses and other four-legged performers, except dogs and cats, be kept out of the show, in part because a camel escaped last November.

The getaway camel, which was caught after a one-block pursuit, brought criticism from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which at the time called on city officials to revoke the circus’ permit to operate in the Civic Auditorium’s parking lot.

Brad Wright, a former National Basketball Assn. player who now partially owns the circus, asked the City Council this week to let the Ramos Bros. Circus bring animals to the big top, pointing to several documents that showed they were healthy and safe.

But his 11th-hour plea didn’t work. The circus operators had already signed a contract with the city to rent the Civic Auditorium space agreeing not to bring animals before Wright and another new partner, Glendale Kia President Onnik Mehrabian, came onboard.

To change it now would be difficult because several city departments, including fire, police and building safety, would have to be involved,  Tom Lorenz, city spokesman, told The Times Community News.

“It totally caught us off-guard,” Lorenz said of Wright’s request to have animals at the circus. “We’re going to stick with the original contract.”

Wright, who used to play for basketball for UCLA, the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets, said he was disheartened that the city was blocking the circus from having animals.

“I’m disappointed not for myself and not for the circus, but for the kids,” Wright said. “It’s like having a birthday party without a cake.”

He added that he understands there are some who oppose animals in circuses, such as PETA, but he would invite critics to make a surprise visit to check on the animals’ quality of life.

“I’d want PETA to come at any time, inspect at any moment,” he said.

Lorenz said other cities have blocked the Ramos Bros. Circus from having animals. That list includes Corona, which bans exotic or wild animals in the city. He added that Glendale officials are open to reviewing animals at the circus next year on a case-by-case basis.


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