CRESTVIEW — A Crestview group against animal abuse continues protesting the Loomis Bros Circus returning to Crestview for the 11th year.
Andrew Pratt started a petition back in August, which has over 2,000 signatures.
Pratt said he made Mayor David Cadle and the Crestview Historic Preservation Board (CHPB) aware of the petition.
Cadle said he encouraged Pratt to bring his concerns before the council because there is no city ordinance protecting circus animals against abuse.
"The council seems to be open to discussing it further," Cadle said.
However, an ordinance would not be a quick fix because it would have to go through two readings.
Pratt spoke to the Crestview city council at the Nov. 5 meeting.
"Like many in Crestview, I'm a military veteran, and just as I served to protect others then, I continue to do that today," Pratt said. "...I'm an advocate for animals and a voice for those who have no voice."
Pratt called for the city to switch to an all-human circus.
"It's just as easy to invite an animal-free circus to Crestview instead," Pratt said. "It's as simple as dialing a different phone number. You can get the same experience from shows like Cirque du Soleil and Cirque Italia that routinely tour Florida."
The CHPB uses the circus as a fundraising opportunity.
According to Pratt, Loomis Bros Circus has been cited multiple times by the USDA for violating the Animal Welfare Act.
Last year, Justin Loomis, owner of the circus, denied these allegations calling them "fake news."
Pratt and the group Crestview Against Animal Abuse plan to hold a demonstration on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Our message is simply that exploitation of animals is outdated and unnecessary when other alternatives are available," Pratt said in a Facebook message.
Ann Spann, a CHPB board member, said she was not aware of the petition.
When asked about the protest against the Loomis Bros Circus, Spann said the board would not comment.
After similar complaints, Fort Walton Beach ended their relationship with Cole Bros. Circus in 2015 and switched to Cirque Italia, a solely human circus cast.
"I’m asking the CHPB and the people of Crestview to make a simple change and support an animal-free circus for next year, just as FWB did this year," Pratt said in a Facebook message. "It’s all the fun and excitement of the circus, but without unnecessary cruelty that comes from forcing captive animals to perform just to make a quick buck."