Circus Sydney animals cause traffic chaos

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Irish Independent

Llama drama twist as council demands ‘ransom’ of €5,500

A HERD of goats and llamas that caused mayhem on a motorway after bolting from their circus pen were last night being held by a local authority.

Their owners must pay €5,550 within five working days to recover their herd, a fee which they last night angrily described as a “ransom”.

The bizarre twist in the so-called ‘llama drama’ came last night when owners Alexander and Yvette Scholl attempted to retrieve the six llamas and four goats from South Dublin County Council.

The animals bolted from their Sydney Circus compound on Greenhills Road in Tallaght, south Dublin at about 12.30pm yesterday and wound up more than two kilometres away at the Red Cow roundabout, off the M50 motorway.

The herd was eventually corralled by gardai and animal control officers, after running rampant at the busy junction for about an hour.

They were taken to the council’s temporary holding pen in Dunboyne, Co Meath where they were being held last night. They were due to be transferred to the council’s pound in Urlingford, Co Kilkenny today.

A spokeswoman for the council last night confirmed the animals would not be released until the owners pay a €5,550 recovery fee. If it is not paid within five working days they will be re-housed or put down.

But owner Yvette Scholl said she does not have the money and claimed the council was holding her animals to ransom.

Her husband Alexander also denied claims they released the animals as part of a publicity stunt for the circus, which was due to pack up on Sunday.

“It’s not a joke, this is serious,” he told the Irish Independent at the compound yesterday.

Blame

“The whole motorway was blocked. You wouldn’t do something like that for publicity, it’s too dangerous. If the llamas caused a big accident I’d be to blame,” he said.

The pack escaped from their pen — housed in a temporary enclosure at the circus site — when someone left the enclosure gate open, he said.

“We had a huge number of calls from the public . . . as well as calls from local gardai who were unsure if they could believe the reports they were hearing,” said Nicola Hudson, an AA Roadwatch controller.

Motorist Pat Kirwin was at the roundabout when he saw the llamas on the northbound lane of the M50.

“Everyone was hitting the brakes. People were trying to avoid them. They were just standing there looking a bit shocked and frightened.”

UK-based animal rights group the Captive Animals’ Protection Society last night called for a inquiry into the matter.

What can you do

– Boycott circuses with performing animals

Become a Freedom for Animals supporter – you can help to make a difference

– Write to your Assembly Member/TD, asking them to support a ban animal use in circuses. Contact details can be found HERE for Republic of Ireland and HERE for Northern Ireland

– Write to your local newspaper highlighting what is wrong with circuses.

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Click HERE to get involved in our campaigns in the Republic of Ireland and HERE to get involved in Northern Ireland contact us info@captiveanimals.org to join our e-mail list.

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