Protesters picket outside Kelly Miller Circus

Protesters picket outside Kelly Miller Circus
Protesters picket outside Kelly Miller Circus (Source: WOIO)

WILLOWICK, OH (WOIO) - Animal rights activists came out in big numbers outside the Kelly Miller big top equipped with signs and accusations.

"We are out here to spread awareness for circus abuse and circus cruelty," said protest organizer Melissa Shy.

Circus organizers have heard it all before.

"It is disheartening. It's disturbing. Many times I try to talk to them. I say come. Come see my animals," said animal trainer Carolyn Rice.

Kelly Miller Circus has been under fire all summer while in Ohio.

Protesters sounded off online by starting petitions to shut the show down, even posting video to YouTube.

Threats of gun violence canceled shows in Chagrin Valley this year.

But, the shows went on as scheduled in Willowick Tuesday night.

"These are domesticated wild animals," Ringmaster Rebecca Ostroff explained. "We can't just say I'm going to let you go, because they are used to this cushy life we provide them."

"We have a great bond with them. As anyone who has a dog knows a bond that you build over time is just great," added Rice.

Demonstrators don't believe it.

"They are not able to be what they are intended to be," said Shy. "They are tethered to the cage."

If the crowd is any indication, spectators don't seem bothered.

"Protesters have the right to be here and so do we, so we are just enjoying it. Enjoying the circus," Lynsey Pennza said.

Willowick protestors said they don't have a problem with the circus, simply the involvement of animals.

"An all-human show with no animals would be perfect," Shy said.

If not, protestors will try to get to a motion passed that would ban the circus in their city in the future.

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