PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — For decades, the Shriners Circus has delighted young and old alike with its live animals but that angered some animal rights groups.
Last year Pittsburgh City Council banned certain devices animal trainers say are needed to control the animals.
So the Shriners Circus will not return to the city this year.
“A circus that features performing animals is not practicable or perhaps even possible in the city of Pittsburgh,” Bob Addleman told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Thursday.
Addleman, recorder and past potentate of the local Shriners, says the city doesn’t want this kind of circus.
“The city passed an ordinance that prevented the use of certain instruments and implements that insurance carriers require to be on the premises in order to be able to use performing animals,” he said.
It’s a classic Catch 22: what insurance companies require the city bans.
Last year, one adult and six children were injured when a camel got spooked at the local event, but Addleman denied it had any impact on this decision.
“That had nothing whatsoever to do with the deciding not to go forward with the show this year in Pittsburgh,” he said.
No circus means loss of $150,000 for local Shriners and its national mission focused on children.
“Across America, 22 specialty pediatric facilities,” Addleman specified.
Still, Addleman concedes the circus may not be as popular for families as it once was.
“It appears so. Ringling Brothers Circus went out of business, and there are fewer circuses that are touring the country.”
“But the movement still seems to be there. There’s still an audience. There seems to be an audience in western Pennsylvania because we’ve heard from a lot of folks who miss the circus and hope that we will be bringing it back soon.”
The Shriners are exploring other locations, including county fairgrounds in the region which don’t have the same restrictions as the city.
Delano: “Is it too late to hold a circus in 2019?”
Addleman: “Not necessarily. So all I can really say about that is, stay tuned.”