Ban on exotic circus animals and tethering tabled for more research

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte City Council Tuesday night was emotional with animal rights activists packing the meeting room.

City Council was discussing two topics regarding animals: the proposal to ban exotic animals at events like circuses, and unattended tethering of pets.

“I was shocked because it’s been banned in Asheville since 2012,” said Holly Newton, who led the effort in Asheville to ban tethering there. “We’re really behind in that case and I’d really like to see something happen here,” she said.

Tuesday’s meeting was filled with outbursts, and it reached a bit of a breaking point.

“We can finish this conversation or you can go ahead and take the energy that you’ve got and continue to do it and you won’t get to a resolution,” said Mayor Vi Lyles after one activists started to boo.

Ultimately, city council decided they needed more information on both topics.

“If we get me the information then usually by some time you come to me and say ‘we ought to look at this’ and we’ll do it,” Lyles said.

Some weren’t happy with the decision to table both the ban on exotic circus animals and tethering.

“I think she’s just blowing us off more. She’s just making us wait,” said one attendee.

John Clifton, who says he’s the East Coast coordinator for Universal Circus, says he’s open to a compromise.

“Any time a group of people come together and creativity come together, I think there can be a solution,” he said, “but one thing that I now that my involvement with Universal Circus, we’re not abusing animals, none of the animals are abused, so you’re going to get people’s different opinions.”

Animal Care and Control will produce a report on tethering, and the City Manager will come up with recommendations for the circus animal issue; they’ll revisit that one in December’s strategy session.

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