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Circus tiger show shut down

April 17, 2008 |  5:26 pm

First the elphants; now the tigers.

A circus in Panorama City saw its tiger show shut down Wednesday by Los Angeles city animal services.

The five-tiger act, set to appear with the traveling Circus Vazquez parked across the street from Panorama Mall, was found to violate the Los Angeles permit requirements, city staff said. Investigators began reviewing the circus’ permits last week, after they shut down its elephant act.

The circus’ three elephants have a long history of abuse and neglect, all documented in official U.S. Department of Agriculture records, said Ed Boks, general manager of Animal Services. After inspecting the circus, Boks said, "We felt they were still keeping the tigers in too close proximity, and that represented a danger to them and to the public."

A circus spokeswoman said their attorneys are still negotiating with the city, and they plan to stay in town and mount daily shows through Monday, when they plan to leave for Oakland, then San Francisco. They have been in town since April 4, she said, and on a national tour since February.

"Every city we have been in, we have their respect," said spokeswoman Sandra Espana, adding, "Circo Vazquez is very careful with the animals."

Boks said that when he contacted the USDA, he was told that the elephants’ owner, Will Davenport, acting under different names and business aliases in Arizona and Texas, had a history of numerous Animal Welfare Act violations. Investigators later discovered that the circus had been cited by the USDA earlier this year for keeping its six tigers in close quarters after one of them was found dead March 31 after a show in Huntington Beach.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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