Kingman council tables ban on performances by exotic animals

March 13, 2019

KINGMAN — The Kingman City Council tabled action on an ordinance that would ban local performances featuring exotic animals by circuses and other traveling shows.

The first half-dozen citizens speaking at the council meeting last week urged adoption of the measure, alleging that tigers, elephants and other exotic animals suffer for their involvement in the industry.

Ordinance supporters, like Keepers of the Wild sanctuary founder Jonathan Kraft, said the animals are mistreated simply by their captivity, their confinement within small cages or space and forced travel. They contended the animals also suffer abuse when electric prods, whips and other equipment and methods are used to force them to perform tricks that would never occur in their native habitat.

The most vociferous opponent of the ordinance was Tim Woods, manager of the Mohave County Fairgounds. He expressed concern that application of provisions of the ordinance would eliminate many forms of entertainment featured at the fairgrounds.

Former council member Vickie Kress and others countered that the proposed ordinance includes exemptions for rodeos, 4-H programs and other forms of generally accepted practice and culture.

Mayor Jen Miles moved to table the proposal so that council members could have more time to research associated issues. Miles said the same ordinance or a modified proposal could be reconsidered at the April 2 council meeting.

Miles also offered an administrative option. She said that city and county officials, with input from fairgrounds representatives, could develop procedures and criteria to evaluate circuses and other shows on a case-by-case basis, permitting some and prohibiting others.