Supervisor Steve Moss believes it’s time for Mohave County to consider regulatory initiative that makes a statement against the abuse of exotic animals that are part of circus or other traveling entertainment shows. Moss was part of the majority of an April 17, 3-2 Board vote directing the county attorney’s office to delve deeper into the matter.

Moss told colleagues that he used to oppose regulatory considerations targeting traveling animal shows for fear of adverse impact for area animal sanctuaries and local rodeo culture. But he said information from the Animal Defender’s International organization and others have him reconsidering possible need of an ordinance of some sort.

Compassion Works International executive director Carrie LeBlanc and Keepers of the Wild founder/operator Jonathan Kraft encouraged the county Board to adopt policy or ordinance prohibiting visiting shows by organizations that abuse or poorly treat their animal subjects. Kraft said 27 nations have essentially banned circuses for their historical abuse of wild cats and elephants.

Supervisor Buster Johnson questioned if the county has sufficient legal authority to take such action. Supervisor Hildy Angius said she thinks current regulations are sufficient and that the animal rights issue is part of a “geopolitical movement” that she doesn’t agree with.

Deputy county attorney Ryan Esplin will explore the matter and report back to the board at a future meeting.

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