NEWARK – Circuses will still be allowed to visit Newark.
A bill that would have prohibited circuses or carnivals with wild or exotic animals was not voted out of committee Monday night.
The law would have not allowed permits to be issued to circuses or carnivals where “wild or exotic animals are required to perform tricks, fight or participate as accompaniments for the entertainment, amusement or benefit of an audience.”
Mark Fraizer, R-at large, who sponsored the law, said he was shocked the law was not sent to the full council for a vote.
Fraizer said circuses violate existing city laws that pertain to animal cruelty, but currently are exempt from those laws.
“As part of our oath we’re supposed to adhere to our ordinances, the state of Ohio, the Constitution and a part of that is establishing justice as well as protecting the general welfare,” he said. “Out of the concerns that were raised by expert witnesses, you would think that would at least merit a vote.”
During the 45-minute committee meeting, Corey Roscoe, the state director for the Humane Society of the United States, and Tim Harrison, with Outreach for Animals, a non-profit animal rights group, spoke in favor of the law. But their testimony was not enough to convince committee members Jeremy Blake, D-2nd Ward; Jeff Rath, R-3rd Ward; Carol Floyd, D-7th Ward; and newly appointed council member Jonathan Lang, R-5th Ward.
None of them seconded Fraizer’s motion to vote on the law, causing it to die from lack of action.
Exotic or wild animals were defined as animals that are wild by nature, whether or not they are predatory, and are not common domestic animals including, but not limited to elephants, lions, bears or tigers.
Blake said he didn’t support the law because circuses do not visit the city frequently.
“I didn’t see the need to ban something that happens only every four years or five years,” he said.
Fraizer said he will wait until next year to bring up the legislation again.
Circuses have been a hot topic at council in recent weeks. At council’s June 26 committee meetings, Fraizer first shared his objections to circuses when the Heath Moundbuilders Kiwanis Club was requesting a licensing fee be waived for the Carson and Barnes Circus that would be visiting Newark in August as a fundraiser for the club.
Fraizer objected to waiving the fee and raised concerns over animal abuse allegations against the circus.
The Kiwanis club has decided to cancel the circus, which was expected to raise between $6,000 and $8,000 for the club to give to organizations such as the Salvation Army, YES Club and the Veterans Alliance.
Another council member, Michael Mangus, D-4th Ward, chastised Fraizer at Wednesday’s council meeting for his comments. Mangus said he would not support legislation to ban circuses from Newark.
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