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Urgent Alert to USDA re Abused Elephants Tina and Jewel

Animals  (tags: abuse, activists, animal, AnimalCruelty, AnimalWelfare, animals, animalsuffering, endangered, wildlife, wildanimals, torture, suffering, rescue, investigation, law )

- 3897 days ago -
Just an email, a phone call - the USDA inspection reports are very distrurbing. There are no graphic photos, just federal findings, The Federal Animal Welfare Act states that elephant in these conditions are to be confiscated - please call, email, crossp

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Echo ELES (264)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 8:49 pm

CC: your emails to:

2150 Centre Ave.
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117

Phone: (970) 494-7478

Echo ELES (264)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 8:49 pm
May 15, 2007: USDA again cites Gigi’s for inadequate veterinary care, and reports findings of specialist in elephant health called in by Cole Brothers to examine Tina and Jewel in Greenville, N.C. on April 23, 2007. “The expert determined that both elephants showed an alarming amount of weight loss and that Jewel was not fit to continue traveling with the circus. The expert felt that both elephants should be kept together and should be moved to the winter quarters for Cole Brothers in Deland, Fla. where they could be closely monitored and have access to veterinarians experienced in elephant health. Expert recommended switch in diet to gain weight and advised that feeding amounts provided and eaten should be recorded.”

In early May the elephants were moved to Leggett, Texas instead of Florida – “Not an approved site location,” according to the USDA. Inspection of the Leggett site reveals that no daily logs of feed are being maintained. The health of the elephants is further jeopardized because the facility does not meet minimum standards for long-term housing due to its incompletion of the primary enclosure and shelter. Animals must be housed in a trailer during inclement weather. Moving to Texas instead of Florida “added additional stress due to the longer transit time.” Weights taken on May 14: Jewel 6,880 lbs. and Tina 7,620 lbs.. These are slight weight gains, but it is too early to tell if they are significant. Management states that the attending veterinarian had visited, but no records were available to document this claim. Immobilization drugs are stored in a lock box filled with water from a leak. The USDA states that “At this time there is no valid home site for this license.”

June 5, 2007: USDA again cites Gigi’s for inadequate veterinary care and facilities violations. “The lack of a permanent long term housing facility that provides adequate shelter and enclosures jeopardizes the health of the animals and hinders their ability to gain weight. Lack of sufficient ventilation in the barn housing the elephants can contribute to heat related stress that would also adversely affect their health.”

Elephants are restrained through hotwires and chaining. Facility lacks “adequate permanent enclosures for elephants.” It also lacks adequate shade, and the barn lacks sufficient ventilation.

Gigi’s Exotics is given until July 5, 2007 to correct the violations.

July 17, 2007: Gigi Davenport sends email to circus list entitled, “My Wonderfull (sic) Son "Will" which reads: “He is an amazing person, his love for these animals is nothing less than a gift from God. He has suffered from people making ugly judgments to his qualifications. Being born and raised in the circus and around animals all his life. Common sense, book smart and animal sense, he has it all. God Bless him. He is an amazing young man and hasn't done anything wrong. I pray everyday that God will let the USDA see the truth and tell us (what it is) and take that ugly cloud off my son's head and just let him do what comes so very natural to him, taking care and loving these incredible animals.”

July 25, 2007: IDA obtains photographic evidence of elephants living in squalid conditions at the Davenport facility in Leggett, Tex. There is no indication that the violations cited by USDA have been corrected, despite the fact that the corrections deadline has passed 20 days before. The eyewitness report provided to IDA states,

“We located Jewel and Tina at a circus approved 'holding area'...and they were far worse than we'd anticipated. . . Tina and Jewel are living every day on a concrete slab surrounded by building debris and half-burned garbage. Their hard slab-estimated at a mere 12' x 24' is surrounded by electrified wire—and they know this, evident by their fear of standing anywhere close to the perimeter. The cramped girls seemed to huddle together as not to accidentally hit the hot-wire, staying at least 3' from the shock. . . Their condition? Emaciated. The photographic images reveal Tina and Jewel's sunken faces and sad eyes. Facts:

* Both elephants were underweight.
* There was no access to water.
* There was no evidence of other food-types such as fresh browse or produce, only a bit of hay.
* Their 'walking'/living area is approximately 12' X 24' which upon observation is reduced to approximately 9' X 21' given the 3' 'fear-zone' of the electrified wire.
* There was no structural shade from the sun with the exception of some trees.
* They both exhibited stereotypical neurotic behavior of rocking, and one of the girls' back left foot is being treated for thrush—she was lifting it and looking at her foot.
* If there was a structure provided for night-housing or protection from harsh weather, it may have been the old shed located next to the hot-wire corral. This shed is dilapidated and very small with no evidence of proper ventilation.
* As one drives from the county road onto the driveway, Tina and Jewel are immediately to the left, approximately 20 yards from the access to the public. Left entirely unprotected and electrically penned like fish in a barrel, there are no measures to ensure their safety—or that of the public.”

August 2007: Tina and Jewel are still at the Leggett facility. They have reportedly been given access to a larger outdoor area, still well under an acre in size, and windows for ventilation have been cut into the tiny tin barn in which they are frequently confined. The USDA continues to allow Tina and Jewel’s care to be directed by the same individuals who, as the agency has repeatedly documented, have failed to provide these ailing elephants with necessary veterinary care; have handled the elephants in an unsafe and inhumane manner; and left them in the care of an inexperienced and unskilled trainer. In addition, USDA is reportedly in possession of evidence documenting the illegal involvement of John Davenport (who lost his USDA exhibitor license in 1998), with Tina, Jewel and the third elephant, Queenie. The agency continues to do nothing to stop this alleged illegal activity.

Echo ELES (264)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 8:50 pm
March 2, 2007: Gigi’s Exotics objects to the February 16 USDA inspection report. In a letter, Gigi’s Exotics claims that Jewel was examined and tested by Dr. Ted Eudy (flown in from Oklahoma). The circus claims health reports, including trunk wash results, were given to the USDA, and cites an inspection from November 2006 that found no non-compliance.

March 14, 2007: The USDA upholds findings of the February 16 inspection, noting the trunk wash samples for TB testing were unacceptable and that the only TB test results are from 2005. The USDA’s letter also stated, “considering Jewel’s unthrifty condition and chronic weight loss, the failure to obtain a weight in a timely manner jeopardized her health and indicated a clear failure to provide adequate veterinary care and monitoring of her condition.”

March 17, 2007: The USDA inspection notes Gigi’s Exotics continued violation for inadequate veterinary care. Jewel remains “noticeably thin.” Her weight was taken only twice (she weighed between 6,600 and 6,800 pounds). The weight loss remains undiagnosed. Current TB trunk wash results are still unavailable. “Travel restrictions and prohibiting public contact with these elephants is necessary to ensure the health of both the elephants and the public by minimizing the potential spread of tuberculosis. In the absence of a clear diagnosis of Jewel’s weight loss, and the potential for tuberculosis or some other unknown disease being present, it would be inappropriate for her to travel.”

March 30, 2007: Gigi’s Exotics receives a damning USDA inspection in Pueblo, Colo. Numerous violations are noted, including inadequate veterinary care (e.g., no program for appropriate skin and foot care); inadequate training of elephant handler; failure to handle elephant in manner that does not cause excessive trauma, stress, physical harm, and unnecessary discomfort; inadequate record keeping; and failure to maintain appropriate primary enclosures for transport. The elephant described in this report is not identified.

The USDA finds an elephant with “excessive dead skin over most of her body and doesn’t show evidence of proper bathing for quite some time. She has urine staining and what appears to be urine scalds on her back legs. The pads on this elephant had excessive growth and there were numerous flaps of skin that had trapped debris in them. The cuticles were also excessively long.”

The elephant also has “multiple wounds draining yellowish exudates inside the left ear” that handlers had not reported. Wounds would be “consistent with the improper use of an ankus in the ear.”

The handler is found to be “not properly trained or experienced.” He was trained in November/December 2006 by a handler who had “worked with horses a little but had no animal handling, husbandry experience or training. Back-up handler had no elephant experience. Previously did construction work. He feeds, waters, handles the elephants and is the loader for rides.”

The handler “had trouble getting [the elephant] to consistently do basic things like pick her feet up for exam. He had to prod her excessively with the ankus (bullhook) to get the desired behavior and sometimes could not get the behavior completed. The handler was not able to demonstrate adequate control of elephant.”

The USDA also documents physical abuse. “The handler had to continuously rely on excessive and inappropriate use of the ankus to get the elephant to perform the behaviors he was asking for during the rides and performances. . . during the rides and performances, the handler was observed repeatedly jabbing and hitting the elephant with the ankus. Several times during the elephant ride, the handler used the ankus to hit the elephant and she reacted by throwing her head and changing her gait demonstrating irritation at the action of the handler. . . This is inappropriate and abusive use of the ankus and such use is likely to cause trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm or unnecessary discomfort . . . This type of inappropriate use can cause the elephants to become more aggressive.”

The USDA also reports reported public endangerment through abusive bullhook use, lack of control over elephant, and allowing children to sit on the floor in front of an elephant who was confined behind an inadequate barrier with a handler who was distracted. At one point, a child was actually let into the elephant’s enclosure to retrieve a balloon. No handler was present at that time.

Other transgressions included: No one on staff being able tell the USDA inspector where the licensee (Gigi Davenport) was at time of inspection; no health records were on hand; immobilization drugs for emergency restraint of elephants were labeled for “yellow cats,” and handler had no idea how to use the dart gun to administer the drugs.

April 10, 2007: USDA inspects Gigi’s Exotics at New Bern, N.C. and again cites the operation for inadequate veterinary care. Jewel is still thin, weighing 220 lbs. less on April 8 than when her last weight was taken on March 11. “TB cultures were taken and were negative. Jewel is not gaining weight despite an apparently adequate diet. The cause of her being underweight is still undiagnosed. She was last seen by the attending vet at the end of Jan. 2007. Because of the stress of traveling, a second opinion from another veterinarian who specialized in elephants is needed at this time. . .”

April 12, 2007: -- USDA orders Jewel off the road, warning, “continued travel by Jewel for exhibition, including travel with the circus, even if not performing, would constitute a violation of Sec. 2.40 until such time as her condition has been adequately evaluated and/or there is measurable improvement in her weight and overall health. Travel to a facility appropriate for long-term holding, or to a facility suited to evaluation and diagnosis of her health issues would be appropriate.”

April 16, 2007: USDA inspects Gigi’s Exotics at New Ulm, Minn. One elephant (Boo) and two camels are present. The circus is cited again for failure to handle animals in a manner that would minimize potential harm to animals and the public. No elephant handler “with appropriate training and experience traveling with this group. . . Safe public exhibition and handling cannot take place without a knowledgeable individual or individuals present.”

Echo ELES (264)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 8:50 pm
July 30, 2004: Gigi’s Exotics pays an $1,100 fine in a settlement agreement with the USDA for violations of the AWA in 2002, 2003, and 2004, at least some of which are related to the care of an elephant named Boo. Violations include “failure to provide adequate veterinary care, failure to maintain proper records on animals… failure to handle animals in a manner that does not cause trauma, overheating, excessive cooling, behavior stress, physical harm or unnecessary discomfort… failure to provide appropriate methods to prevent, control, diagnose and treat diseases and injuries for the elephant named Boo (and) failure to maintain transport enclosure free from any protrusions that could be injurious to the animals.”

March 2005: The USDA inspects Carson and Barnes Circus’ winter quarters in Hugo, Okla., where Boo was being kept for the winter. The report stated: “No one from Gigi’s Exotics present.”

April 1, 2005: Springfield (Ill.) Journal-Register reports on consumer complaints against Bailey Brothers Circus, which also has appeared as Great Circus of China, in Alaska and Illinois. Paperwork in Alaska was filed for Bailey Brothers Circus under the name “Juan Davenport,” and in Illinois, paperwork for Great Circus of China was filed under the name “Charles Davenport.” Both circuses included the Davenport elephant Queenie in their act.

August 27, 2005: Tina and Jewel, still owned by Cole (American) tour the country with Florida-based Wambold’s Circus Menagerie. While in Mt. Pleasant Township, Pa. and made available for petting and feeding by the public, Jewel grabbed a woman’s wrist and sprained it badly.

January 13, 2006: The USDA cites Gigi’s Exotics for AWA violation related to the structural soundness of a trailer used to transport Boo and a horse (in separate compartments).

January 17, 2006: Gigi’s Exotics signs a five-year lease for Tina and Jewel, stating, “We plan to incorporate the elephants into our breeding program, performance and rides. Gigi’s Exotics accepts responsibility for the health, welfare and mortality of said elephants.”

January 27, 2006: Texas Attorney General files consumer fraud/deceptive business practices charges against Juan Davenport, Bailey Brothers Circus, and several other defendants who “collectively operate a circus show under the names of “Kings Royal Circus,” “The Great Circus of China,” “Bailey/ Wallace and Bros. Circus, Inc.,” “Barnes and Bailey Bros. Circus, Inc.,” “Bailey Bros. Circus,” “Barnes & Bailey Circus,” and “Barnes and Bailey Bros. Circus.”

February 2006: Gigi’s Exotics (a.k.a. American All-Star Circus) is investigated for consumer fraud and AWA violations, according to a memo from Sgt. Keith Bond of Jackson County, Miss.

February 22, 2006: Gigi’s Exotics is on the road with Boo, Tina, Jewel, and two camels.

Summer 2006: Tina and Jewel travel with Cole Brothers Circus, accompanied by trainer Will Jacobs Davenport. During this time, this review appears on the blog of circus fan Crash Moreau:

COLE BROTHERS CIRCUS W. Hartford, N.Y. June 11
“This is a nice looking show with a large red and yellow tent and painted trucks. This year the show had a much better line up of acts compared to the past few years. This year at selected performances the elephants has (sic) returned now owned by Gopher Davenport and handled by his son. The only thing I can say is young Davenport needs to put away the bull-hook on these two elephants as Adam Hill never used the hook on these two in previous years. All the animal rights people need is to see how he is handling these two elephants, Tina and Jewel and there will be a lot more flax (sic) about not having animals in circuses.”

October 24, 2006: The USDA inspects Gigi’s Exotics and cites them for inadequate veterinary care: “I observed two Asian elephants, Tina (40 yrs.) and Jewell (42 yrs.). Jewel appears to be underweight. The muscling along both sides of her spine appears sunken or hollowed out. Her spine is very prominent. The handler states that he has “not noted any weight loss and that she had an injury several years ago. In addition, there appears to be very little muscling over the eyes. Although the handler stated that this is her ’normal‘ conformation there are no records other than the health certificate and TB results available for me to review documenting her past or current health status.”

Winter 2007: Tina and Jewel travel with the L.E. Barnes and Bailey Circus; their names are given to the public and the media as Margaret and Lilley. L.E. Barnes and Bailey circus performs 640 shows per year.

February 16, 2007: The USDA inspects Gigi’s Exotics at Heritage Park in Watkinsville, Ga. in conjunction with L.E. Barnes and Bailey Circus. Tina, Jewel, and Boo are present.

The inspectors note numerous violations, including:

* Inadequate veterinary care – According to the report, Jewell is “noticeably thin.” Comparison of photographs taken by the USDA between October 2006 and February 2007 indicated that she was “chronically thin.” Although handler was instructed in November 2006 by the USDA to weigh Jewel, no weight is available until February 2007. “The animal’s weight most be monitored at least monthly to assess her progress”
* TB records outdated– The most recent trunk wash results are dated November 29, 2005. “Because TB can be a cause of chronic weight loss, it is imperative that the elephants are tested in timely manner.”
* Failure to handle animals properly to insure minimal risk of harm to animals and people – Boo is placed in a corral and the public is allowed to walk up to the edge and toss in carrots. Small children are noted in the open area of the corral while the handler is distracted.

Echo ELES (264)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 9:59 pm
Robert M. Gibbens, DVM
Director, Western Region
USDA, APHIS, Animal Care
2150 Centre Ave.
Bldg. B, MS 3W11
Ft. Collins, CO 80526
970-494-7460 (fax)

W. Ron DeHaven
Acting Deputy Administrator
1400 Independence Ave. S.W.
Jamie L. Whitten Bldg., Rm. 312E
Washington, DC 20250
202-690-4171 (fax)

Echo ELES (264)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 9:59 pm
please also email and call the contacts above as well as those listed in the link

Marian E (152)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 10:03 pm
Yes, thank you. Will do!

Kathy G (407)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 10:11 pm
Count me in.

Echo ELES (264)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 10:11 pm
ugh, New number for Ron Dehaven


Tony M (155)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 10:13 pm
Emails sent!! Will call them ALL tomorrow!

Jeffrey Coolwater (148)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 11:12 pm
Emails sent to all.


It's as if the USDA thrives on the continuance of abuse!

How about passing this plate to all the Democratic Presidential hopefuls! Maybe we can embarrass them into all appearing at the front steps of the USDA!!!

Jeffrey Coolwater (148)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 11:17 pm
...I think my previous comment IS THE BEST WAY to get some very urgent public spotlights on this tragic government fiasco!!!!

Past Member (0)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 11:23 pm
All written and sent! Poor babies :(

Past Member (0)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 11:37 pm
This one has come back twice:

----- The following addresses had delivery problems -----
because: Address is unrecognized

Marian E (152)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 11:41 pm
Thank you Lynn B., did anyone else have trouble with this email address?

Past Member (0)
Sunday September 23, 2007, 11:54 pm
This one is working, so far:

Past Member (0)
Monday September 24, 2007, 6:25 am
Thank you Echo, another sad story for our elephants, and the abuse that they suffer under those living conditions, and there not to livable, that I can see. So, it's a done deal, will definately call, write, email to find out whats going on with Gigi and the other ones. I wish them many blessings.

Anita N (27)
Monday September 24, 2007, 8:04 am
Email sent. The history is so sad and unacceptable.

Martha H (1)
Monday September 24, 2007, 9:35 am
Count on me It is to sad to see those beautiful animals in such conditions.

Echo ELES (264)
Monday September 24, 2007, 11:11 am
Thanks everyone!
and thanks Lynn for the email correction

please crosspost, everyone and ask friend and family to help BLITZ the USDA for TINA AND JEWEL!!

Past Member (0)
Monday September 24, 2007, 1:34 pm
EVERYONE HAS BEEN EMAILED...."signed, sealed and delivered!"

Marcy M (97)
Monday September 24, 2007, 2:46 pm
Emails/Letters sent. This is so heartbreaking.

Leonor A (259)
Monday September 24, 2007, 4:13 pm

Carole S (39)
Monday September 24, 2007, 4:42 pm

Carole S (39)
Monday September 24, 2007, 4:42 pm

Sharon D (91)
Monday September 24, 2007, 7:13 pm
Letters sent . and noted will forward.

Jennie B (14)
Monday September 24, 2007, 7:21 pm
o.k. we have our work cut out for us-I wsh I wasn't in training this wk-I'd make this my cause of the wk-will check back to see what's happening Sat. and see what the next steps are...I truly want this poor ele safe and in a sanctuary...I can tell from looking at this ele in the picture that she is so sad w/her face turned to the wall. It breaks my heart.

Bobbie W (113)
Monday September 24, 2007, 8:13 pm
Absolutely terrible how these animals suffer!You bet I'll be calling tomorrow!

Mary M (20)
Monday September 24, 2007, 9:02 pm
When, if ever, will this abuse STOP! We need animal cops everywhere to keep up with all the abuse going on. Absolutely horrendous! Thanks much Echo.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday September 25, 2007, 6:53 am
Why are these animals still being allowed to live in this way ? Haven't they suffered more than enough ? The USDA need to stop dragging their backside on this matter...and yes, Jeffrey , maybe the powers that want to be should be embarrassed into making a stand. Good idea...

Past Member (0)
Tuesday September 25, 2007, 12:57 pm
I think that the USDA should be held accountable tothe highest degree of the law. Jeffrey, i think you are absolutely right in having all of the presidential hopefuls of both parties to stand on the steps of the USDA along with everyone who cares enough to stand there too. This is an ongoing problem with many of our government agencies, they dont want to be held accountable. I hope everyone will flood these people with e mail snail mail and phone calls.

Prasad A (3)
Tuesday September 25, 2007, 7:13 pm
People treating animals like this, must be prosectued and treated like this to know the pain these animals have.
I feel shame hearing such human-beings do survive in this world, dont they have emotions.

charles mclachlan (1677)
Tuesday September 25, 2007, 7:24 pm
hi what these evil people have done to these to elephants gisgsts me they should be tried for this terible crime and the key thoun away evil people .and should never bean aloud to be part of the circus plus every other person working there must have sean what was going on it should be closed doun imedietly just discusting and inhuman circumstances these poor elefhants suffering only one can imagine and hurt me deaplly.eval people the lot of them who wokd there

Cory Ferguson (110)
Wednesday September 26, 2007, 7:16 am
It is a shame that so many things get messed up because of government red tape. I wish that all politicians would set aside their political ambitions and parties and just do what is right. This is a classic case and animals are suffering because of it.

Amber Wishbone (39)
Wednesday September 26, 2007, 11:54 am
Leave the earth's giants alone!

La Olsen (134)
Monday October 1, 2007, 8:30 am
Noted and sent! I hope this works like it did for Maggie! Persistance is Key!

Carole S (39)
Saturday October 6, 2007, 12:01 am
okay........let's blitz them out of that hellhole!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Ashley Odle (8)
Monday October 22, 2007, 6:49 am
What all do we know about this story? besides that the animals look sick?

Echo ELES (264)
Monday October 22, 2007, 8:20 am
Gee, Ashely, didnt you READ the USDA inspection reports?

Tony M (155)
Monday October 22, 2007, 9:44 am
This link is posted in Echo's share:
(background info on Tina and Jewel)

JustaHuman Here (53)
Monday October 22, 2007, 10:27 am

Past Member (0)
Tuesday October 30, 2007, 6:24 am
I'm on it! Noted, Echo. Thanks!
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