Westchester County executive signs order banning use of exotic animals at County Center

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Westchester County will no longer host shows with exotic animals following signage of an executive order.

County Executive George Latimer penned his signature at an event in White Plains today just two weeks after the Royal Hanneford Circus.

The entertainment company held a series of shows at the County Center featuring animals, including lions and tigers.

Although the group had a great turnout, Latimer believes other entertainment can make great use of the space.

“We believe there are other similar entertainment entities that can be solicited to come in this building, and if we book them into this building they will be equally entertaining to the young kids and to the adults that come in here, without having lions and tigers and some of the other animals I mentioned,” he says.

Animal rights advocates have been lobbying the county for years to omit the performance of animal acts like the Royal Hanneford Circus.

In 2017, the state passed a law banning the use of elephants for entertainment.

Although the circus acts are presently banned, News 12 is told the County Center will still be home to an annual reptile show and pet adoption event because those animals are not performing.

"Both of those two cases, we're comfortable that what's going to happen in this building will not cross the dotted line into something that could abuse the animals who are here," shared Latimer.

The executive order takes effect immediately, and legislators are working on a law that will make the ban permanent.

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