Circus boss hits back and says his tigers are part of family

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THE director of a circus which has performed in the Tamworth area for over ten years has defended his use of animals in its shows.

Martin Lacey was responding to fierce criticism from an animal protection charity which was calling on residents to boycott the circus which is currently based at Lea Marston near Kingsbury.

The Great British Circus uses camels, llamas, reindeer, Fresian horses, Falabella, zebra, ponies, dogs and donkeys in its performances and is the last remaining circus in the country to also include tigers.

Mr Lacey told the Herald: “We’ve been coming to the Tamworth area for over ten years now and people vote with their feet.

“All I would say to people is that if you have any concerns, put on your jacket and come and see us and make your own minds up. “You can look behind the scenes for just £1 and you’ll see we have nothing to hide.

“I’m on my tenth generation of tigers and my 12th generation of lions now – would they really breed for me if they were not properly cared for?

“Our animals are not ones we’ve dragged kicking and screaming from the wild and made perform for the titillation of the general public – they are my family and twice a day they enjoy organised play in the ring. “I’m not brave or stupid enough to knock tigers around.”

But the Captive Animals’ Protection Society has called on the public not to attend the circus which is performing in the village until June 10.

Liz Tyson, director of CAPS, said: “Constant transportation, confinement and repetitive unnatural performances is no life for any animal and CAPS encourages families to choose one of the fantastic all-human shows to get their circus fix this year.

“Visitor numbers to circuses with wild animals have halved in the last five years and there is a huge amount of support for the new proposals for a ban.

“But the Government needs to act quickly and we ask that people stay away from those shows that continue to use animals in the meantime.

“We sincerely hope that we will soon see a ban on this practice in this country but we remain concerned for all animals in circuses, whether domestic or wild.

“CAPS asks that the public vote with their feet and boycott all animal circuses, ” she added.

But Mr Lacey, a former zoo director and zoological adviser for television, said that scientific studies had proved that animal keeping in circuses was no worse than that found in stables and farms.

And he said of the charity’s accusations: “This is just a potty crusade – a bunch of rhetoric from a group of people who have never kept such animals.

“We are regularly checked by all sorts of government departments and we pass those checks.”

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Two starved pit bulls rescued as Bronx woman is charged with animal cruelty

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“Dam, this infuriates the hell out of me…There is just no excuse for pets to look like this, the courts have to start handing out some serious prison time for animal abusers. At most the majority get off with a slapped wrist,  & no contact with said species for a couple of year…Oh, & possibly a fine, that they obviously won’t be able to pay, if they couldn’t afford to buy dog food!”  

“Come on, that just isn’t going to be any deterrent whatsoever; especially if they live in an area known for dog fighting. These guys are clever & know how to work the system,  they could walk straight out of the court house to a mates house, who has pit bull puppies to re- home, the offender doesn’t necessarily have to take it home….I’m sure the owner of the pups will gladly stick it on the end of a chain in his back yard…Especially if a lot of money is going to change hands due to fights .”

“The Authorities can’t keep their eye on them all the time. Bring in Animal Abuse Registry’s, let all shelters, pounds etc. have access to certain records to make sure their not handing out a dog to some inhumane sicko, who’s going to let it starve or worse use it as a bait-dog!! And so they can’t change their name & address to wriggle out of the registry, when they are first added, there must be a clear photo, just like a passport…That should in theory stop a lot of re-abuse, it’s worth a try…isn’t it?”

Both dogs, Cagney and Lacey, will be put up for adoption, the ASPCA said

Starved pit bulls Cagney (below) and Lacey (above) were rescued and are recovering. Soon, they will be up for adoption.

The photos of  the two bony pit bulls — their ribs protruding — are almost too much to take.

When the pooches, Cagney and Lacey, were rescued Feb. 17 from an apartment in the Norwood section of the Bronx they weighed merely 16.4 and 15.2 pounds, respectively. One of the malnourished youngsters was tied to a radiator with an electrical cord.

Agents for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrested Gillian Irving, 27, on Friday for starving them, the agency said.

The dogs were taken to the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital for treatment, and now weigh about 27 pounds each.

They will both be put up for adoption, the ASPCA said.

Irving was charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. She faces up to two years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine if convicted. She is due in Bronx Criminal Court on Aug. 22.

The animal protection group learned about the two abused pups through a tip.

 “As in this case, if someone did not report the matter the animals would likely have died,” ASPCA spokesman Joseph Pentangelo said. “Animal crueltyis a wrong and a crime.”He said the arrest was the agency’s third in the Bronx this year and 16th city-wide.To report animal cruelty in New York City, contact the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department at (212) 876-7700, extension 4450 or

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