City says no thanks to traveling circus

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March 28, 2011 // UPDATED 2:17 pm - April 5, 2011
By: Nick Halter
Nick Halter
Minneapolis Animal Care and Control yesterday denied a traveling circus’s permit to bring several animals to the Minneapolis Convention Center May 14-15.

The owner of Piccadilly Circus of Florida, however, is appealing the ruling to the city’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Health Committee April 6. The circus wants to bring an elephant, two kangaroos, two lemurs and eight ponies to Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Animal Care and Control, in its denial letter, said the circus did not meet the city’s 90-day deadline for applying for a permit, has not paid the city’s permit fee and has not supplied the city with records related to the care of the circus animals.

The fees, application deadline and animal records are relatively new requirements for circuses in Minneapolis. The City Council considered banning circuses, but instead added those restrictions in 2008.

John Whitfield of Piccadilly Circus said in a telephone interview from Florida that Minneapolis is the only city he’s encountered that requires that the circus turn over animal care records. Piccadilly has dates on its Web site for several cities, including Indianapolis and Grand Rapids, Mich.

He also said in a letter to the city that he sent a check for the permit fee on April 1.The fee is $750. Whitfield said Piccadilly would have applied earlier, but it hadn’t finalized a contract with the Convention Center.

He said attendance at the events ranges, with some attracting several thousand. He did not immediately know how much the circus would pay the to use the Convention Center.