PETA asks local law enforcement to investigate animal abuse

Abuse at the circus. A Topeka family who was looking to have a nice time at the circus was horrified after they say they saw the handlers abusing animals.

Nicolette Schleisman has more on why PETA has decided to step in.

“I was horrified and sad and shocked,” said Dylan Soza.

Mandie Soza took her 11-year-old son, Dylan and her 10-year-old nephew to the Shrine Circus at the Expocentre Sunday evening.

“There were several dogs that started fighting, they were trying to pull them apart and then they dimmed the lights, so it was dark in the expocentre and then the male started punching the dogs in the side and the face. And then they hurriedly left and went towards the back stage, and they weren’t behind the curtains yet and the lady kicked the dog,” said Mandie Soza.

Dylan and his cousin asked if they could go home.

“It kind of let me down on how much fun they used to be, and how much fun that circus was,” said Dylan.

Soza contacted the US Department of Agricultrue, and PETA. Tuesday, PETA asked Topeka Police and the USDA to investigate, and the Kansas Expocentre to keep security footage.

“It’s up to the authorities, it’s up to the circus performer and the Shrine, and we’re all working together, and making sure everybody understands what took place, what the truth was,” said H.R. Cook, General Manager of the Expocentre.

The Hamid Circus was brought to Topeka by the Arab Shrine Topeka Chapter. The circus has released this statement on Facebook, which reads in part,: “Hamid Circus’ first priority is and always is, the well being of our four legged friends. With that being said, the animal handler in question has been reassigned while an internal investigation is being conducted. We take these allegations very seriously and will take appropriate disciplinary action as warranted.”

But, for Soza and her son, the damage has already been done.

“I think we’re going to skip out on the circus from now on,” said Mandie.

Soza says she does not blame the Arab Shrine Chapter here in Topeka. She says she will continue to support the Shriners, just not when they pair with the circus.

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