Daniel J. Kov; The Daily Journal; February 09, 2017
VINELAND – The city may consider banning the use of exotic animals on publicly owned land in a move similar to one Cumberland County freeholders recently took.
At City Council’s Tuesday workshop meeting, officials discussed a soon-to-be introduced ordinance that would prohibit traveling circuses or carnival shows from hosting entertainment events using exotic or wild animals on land owned by the city.
Local animal rights activist Adrienne Possenti proposed the idea to Mayor Anthony Fanucci after successfully lobbying the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
The county unanimously approved a similar “wild animal” ban on county-owned land back in December, and council so far seems receptive to the idea.
“I can tell you as an animal lover that I would not support abuse of animals like I would not support abuse of human beings,” Fanucci told The Daily Journal. “I’m in agreement with council at this point in time that something needs to be done.”
“I’m a big animal activist, as is everyone here, and so this is an important issue,” councilwoman Angela Calakos said.
“I don’t think we are in disagreement,” councilman Ron Franceschini said.
The earliest an ordinance would appear before council would be at its Feb. 28 meeting.
If introduced then, it would be voted on March 14.
Officials said the ordinance would likely follow the language of the county’s resolution.
“What we discussed was banning it from public land,” Fanucci said of his discussions with Possenti.
Possenti, who fielded questions from council members along with a representative from an international animal rights group, supplied officials with literature and DVDs documenting the abuse she said occurs in many traveling circuses.
“Hopefully we can set the animals free from their suffering,” she said.
The ordinance would likely target shows that use animals such as elephants, lions, tigers and others, officials said.
Left unaffected would be privately-owned land — specifically the Vineland Flea Market, which is the hosting ground of the city’s annual circus.
The circus typically is used as a fundraiser by Vineland Vol. Fire Company No. 2. It would go on as scheduled, officials noted.
“The private property wouldn’t prohibit Kelly Miller or Zabrini Brothers or anyone else from doing what they do,” Possenti said.
Possenti said she would likely approach Millville next with a similar request.
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