Freeholders in northern New Jersey have approved an ordinance to ban circuses and other exotic animal shows on county property.
The Record newspaper reports Bergen County's freeholders unanimously adopted the ordinance Wednesday. The ban covers exhibitions, shows and performances on county property — not private or municipal land.
It specifies a dozen categories of animals, including tigers, snakes and elephants, but doesn't cover horses, dogs or other domesticated animals. Zoos, sanctuaries, rescue centers and educational programs featuring animals are all exempt.
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The county ban also targets parades, carnivals and trade shows in which animals have no permanent home or are removed from their permanent home for more than 18 hours at a time for performances or exhibitions.
The state's chapter of the League of Humane Voters praised the action. The group's regional director, Julie O'Connor, said the move will help end animal abuse.
"This experience has reinforced my faith in you as public servants for using your power for good," she said. "You will help put a nail in the coffin of animal abuse." [[211053881, C]]
O'Connor and other group members spearheaded the effort about two years ago. She said the county law is a first step and that she wants other counties and municipalities to prohibit such shows until there is enough support for a statewide ban.
Tavana Brown, general manager for the Oklahoma-based Kelly Miller Circus, said the time constraint effectively halts traveling circuses. Brown has said it's unfortunate that law-abiding companies are being punished alongside those that ignore the laws.