Victory! Sacramento Passes Ordinance to Protect Performing Animals

July 22nd, 2010 by Nicole Meyer


In yet another victory for animals, the Sacramento (Calif.) City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance amendment that provides greater protection for animals used in traveling exhibitions such as circuses and rodeos. Presented by Councilmember Sandy Sheedy, the amendment establishes an application and permit process for traveling animal exhibitors and empowers Sacramento animal control officers to perform unannounced inspections to insure the humane care and treatment of performing animals.

IDA founder Dr. Elliot Katz provided expert testimony at the hearing, educating the council about the crippling foot and joint diseases that elephants in circuses suffer as a result of constant confinement and being forced to perform unnatural tricks.

The council also heard from local animal advocates, animal organizations, and leading experts on the behavior and care of wild animals, including PAWS Co-founder Ed Stewart, wildlife consultant and veterinarian Dr. Mel Richardson, and animal behaviorist and trainer Gail Laule, who all urged passage of the amendment.

At one dramatic point during the hearing, the Councilmember showed a video of Ringling Bros. Circus trainers brutally hitting elephants in the face, trunk and body with bullhooks as they waited to perform. It should come as no surprise that the council voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance amendment after seeing this blatant display of cruelty.

Dr. Katz hailed the council’s decision as a wonderful first step. “IDA applauds the Sacramento City Council for its unanimous support of this important ordinance that will better protect animal welfare,” said Dr. Katz. “Now it’s our job to continue to educate the public about the plight of animals used in circuses, rodeos and other forms of so-called entertainment, and keep fighting to end these inherently cruel and outdated displays.”

Councilmember Sheedy expressed her thanks to IDA for its support of the ordinance, stating: “Dr. Katz’s testimony was invaluable, as were all the emails your organization generated. This was a big victory for animal rights, and it would not have happened without your help.  Thanks again!”

IDA would like to thank all our Sacramento-area supporters who quickly responded to our alerts, sending emails and making phone calls in support of the ordinance. We also thank Councilmember Sheedy for her compassionate leadership for animals, all the council members who voted to approve this important ordinance, and Mayor Kevin Johnson.

You can view the hearing at HERE. Click on the “Watch Now” button for the July 20th meeting.

If you would like to thank Mayor Johnson and the Sacramento City Council, you can email them at:

Mayor Kevin Johnson
- You must go to the city website and email the mayor via this form.

E-Mail string for entire City Council:

12 Responses to “Victory! Sacramento Passes Ordinance to Protect Performing Animals”

  1. April 15, 2013 at 5:46 am, Buford Fickert said:

    Really superior web site thanks so much on your time in writing the posts for all of us to learn about.


  2. October 08, 2010 at 1:51 pm, sydney said:

    I agree with you on this one this is cruel


  3. September 10, 2010 at 3:27 pm, Deborah said:

    Little late on hearing this news (and I live in CV Ca!) but I’m working 7 days a week and it’s tough to keep up. This gives me heart! If only all cities and towns, and the entire state would follow Sacramento’s lead!

    The last time I attended a circus was with my nephew over ten years ago. It was a little circus setting up in small towns. We were in the very front row and so got a good view of the elephants and their tricks. Close enough in fact that I was able to look one in the eyes as she passed. I will never forget it. There was such suffering in her eyes it broke my heart. I have never attended another circus since and my nephew, who was only five at the time, understands why.


  4. August 02, 2010 at 8:33 pm, Lori said:

    Thank you Sacramento ,,, and let’s not forget, and make more changes faster so animals do not have to suffer any longer then they have….read the book Modoc by Ralph Helfer, if you want to understand Elephants.


  5. July 31, 2010 at 10:49 am, Annie said:

    Please ban circuses! Look at these animals, man! They are chained!! All these beautiful animals are chained and then the humans go to them and laught about them!? Have geart and save them, please!


  6. July 31, 2010 at 5:35 am, Nadia said:

    C’est une victoire mais pas la fin du combat. Il ne faut pas lâcher prise car en France, nous avons me même problème. Je souhaiterai qu’une loi passe afin de permettre de donner des autorisations qu’aux propriétaires de cirque respectueux et aimants les animaux. Et de fermer les cirques aux autres propriétaires peu scrupuleux envers les animaux.


  7. July 30, 2010 at 9:00 pm, Dave Bernazani said:

    Good work and kudos to all involved in this important first step (with emphasis on “first step”). Now why doesn’t Sacramento join the other cities that have completely banned circuses with exotic animals?
    Perhaps some day, the U.S. will even ban them from the entire country, and finally be able to join Bolivia, Costa Rica and Sweden as one more humane and compassionate nation that refuses to allow wild animals to be kept in captivity and brutally trained for mere “entertainment”.


  8. July 30, 2010 at 4:10 pm, Heather Hamza said:


    How about ONLY having performers that are WILLING to do the tricks, i.e. humans?!

    These poor animals are SLAVES, they are not given a CHOICE.


  9. July 30, 2010 at 2:31 pm, May M. said:

    They deserve freedom! No more animals learning *** tricks they don’t even like to.
    To begin with, WHAT’S THEIR PAYMENT? It’s like being condemned for a crime they never commited. Animals weren’t born to serve us, in anyway, not with their meat, their fur or to entertain us!



    • August 02, 2010 at 3:20 pm, sylvia said:

      Love your thinking, we are on the same page :)


  10. July 30, 2010 at 10:07 am, Eugenia Renskoff said:

    Hi, I think this is great. The more protected animals are, the better. Eugenia Renskoff


  11. July 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm, Sacramento Protecting Animals in Rodeo’s and Circuses « Anipal Info said:

    up or to its mother. These video’s have enraged people across the US of A.You can go over to Victory! Sacramento Passes Ordinance to Protect Performing Animals to read more details of the Amendment and how the group IDA (In Defense of Animals) played a vital


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