Rockland County, NY - After ticketing elephant handler William Morris and citing permit violations, a representative of the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) shut down a Missouri-based circus on Tuesday after a performance in Viola Park which featured two adult elephant headliners.
LOHUD.com is reporting that a spokesman for the DEC, Peter Constantakes, said, “Today was the last day Mr. Morris was going to be conducting elephant shows in New York state.”
Mr. Morris and his two elephants, Cindy, 38, and Jenny, 42, whom he rents from George Carden Circus International out of Springfield, MO, began drawing attention Monday when they performed on the grounds of United Talmudical Academy (UTA) in Spring Valley.
Spring Valley officials charged that UTA did not apply for proper permits and were also in violation of local zoning ordinances in permitting the elephants on its property.
Authorities also received calls from concerned residents complaining that ultra-Orthodox men were riding the elephants.
This caught the eye of state officials who showed up at the Ramapo appearance on Tuesday.
When confronted by a state official, William Morris immediately applied for, and was granted, the necessary permit for the park performance, which was allowed to finish—-but Morris ended up being cited for being “in possession of a threatened or endangered species without the required state permit.”
As for the ultra-Orthodox elephant riders, Morris said he previously trained a group of fun-loving ultra-Orthodox men to perform with Cindy and Jenny and had worked with them successfully at other shows.