Circus-owner says fireworks upset animals

 

For the first time in its 221-year history Duffy's Circus is considering taking down its tent and leaving a town ahead of schedule after animals were upset by fireworks let off by children in Drogheda.

According to the owner, Mr David Duffy, the circus was forced to call in gardai after young people threw bangers at some of the animals including four tigers in a cage.

On Tuesday the company hired a private security firm in a bid to prevent the situation recurring.

"This is the first time I voiced my concern to an audience, I appealed for any one in a residents' association to act. I feared it would go on all night," he said.

The circus set up its big top on Drogheda's rugby pitch on the Ballymakenny road on Monday and from that afternoon until 10 p.m., he claims, up to 70 people aged from eight to 18 years were involved in throwing bangers at the animals while both shows were going on.

"We understand when the circus comes to town that kids are excited. We don't mind that, we are here for the kids but this got too serious . . . they weren't vandals and did not break anything but the little kids had bangers and threw them at the animals.

"We had to close up the tigers' cage. One landed five feet from the cage and inside the perimeter fence." Mr Duffy said that they had long associations with the town, and a number of his family are buried in Drogheda, but this is the first time on their annual visit that there has been a serious problem. "It is just a minority and I don't want to put anyone off coming to the circus . . . my concern was the children. These are potentially dangerous animals."

A spokesman for Drogheda gardai said they had received a call about children throwing bangers but when they arrived there was no evidence of bangers in sight. The garda added that a number of bangers were seized in a house in the town on Tuesday.