Victory! Sacramento Passes Ordinance to Protect Performing Animals

Victory! Sacramento Passes Ordinance to Protect Performing Animals

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in circuses, rodeos and other forms of so-called entertainment, and keep fighting to end these inherently cruel and outdated displays.”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: