Article by: KATHERINE LYMN , Star Tribune Updated: April 6, 2011 - 5:59 PM
Piccadilly Circus was to come to Minneapolis in May, but a 2008 law means it needed a permit to bring its wild animals into town.
For the first time since tightening rules regarding circus animals, Minneapolis has denied a circus's request to bring wild animals to town. Using regulations enacted in 2008, the city this week denied Piccadilly Circus a permit to bring its animals to the Minneapolis Convention Center on May 14 and 15. The Sarasota, Fla., circus had asked to bring an elephant, a pair of kangaroos, eight ponies, a monkey and two lemurs. Dan Niziolek, manager of Animal Care and Control for the city, on Monday denied the application, and on Wednesday a City Council committee rejected the circus's appeal. The matter goes before the full council April 15. In a letter to the company, Niziolek said the circus didn't apply the required 90 days in advance of the event and did not provide required veterinary care records or filing fee. Piccadilly also added the monkey to its roster after it first applied. The 2008 rule changes increased the application fee five-fold, to $750, and more notably required that before a Minneapolis event, an animal control official must travel to inspect the animals at the owner's expense. Niziolek said the inspections are both to ensure diseased animals don't come in contact with Minneapolis residents and that the city isn't associating with companies that abuse their animals. Piccadilly Circus secretary John Whitfield on Tuesday wrote to the city that a representative from the convention center would speak for the circus at Wednesday's Public Safety committee meeting, but that did not happen. Whitfield said Wednesday that he didn't know whether the circus owner would further attempt to overturn the city's decision. Committee Chair Don Samuels said it would not be fair to force city staff to jump through hoops in just a month and a half to finish the inspections. Katherine Lymn is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.