Sunday, February 9, 2003

Circus asks Louisville to allow elephant rides

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Kosair Shrine Circus wants to bring elephant rides back. The circus ended the rides last year, after officials found out the circus was offering rides despite a 1990 county ban.

The circus ends Sunday at Broadbent Arena in Louisville. The Shriners have asked the Metro Council to let them offer the rides again.

Ted Bergin, the Kosair Shrine Temple member who oversees the circus, said the Shrine can make $1,500 to $2,000 a year from elephant rides.

The riding ban, which is in effect countywide because of merger, applies to any exhibit or act featuring performing animals.

Jefferson County adopted the measure after a man was injured while wrestling a bear, said Eric Blow, Metro Louisville's animal-control director.

Metro Council member Dan Johnson, D-21st District, has drafted a proposal to allow rides under the supervision of trained animal handlers. Blow said he would withhold judgment until he reviews the proposal.

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