The U.S. Department of Agriculture has filed charges against the East Texas handler of three -- er, actually it's now just one -- elephant
s, for allegedly violating the Animal Welfare Act. For those who haven't been following this sad/absurd story out of Leggett, about 80 miles northeast of Houston, Wil Davenport is a dude who runs something called Maximus Tons of Fun, which was the homebase of rare Asian elephants named Tina, Jewel and Boo (aka Queenie).
In August, Davenport surrendered Tina and Jewel to USDA agents after agents said the animals were dangerously underweight.
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The complaint, which was filed September 25 and made public this week, accuses Davenport of not providing adequate veterinary care to the elephants and threatening, abusing and harassing federal agents. One of the elephants, according to the complaint, had overgrown molars and had trouble chewing her food.
Davenport, who apparently hails from circus folk and is therefore an eminently trustworthy individual, has maintained all along that he has never done anything to harm the elephants, whom he loves. (We left a message at Maximus Tons of Fun, but haven't heard back yet. We imagine it'll be Tons of Time before we do).
California-based In Defense of Animals, which originally brought the complaint to the USDA, stated in a press release that they want the agency to go back for the third elephant.
"The USDA must now use the full force of the law to get Queenie out of Davenport's hands, to the safety of a sanctuary and ensure that Davenport will never abuse another animal," IDA Program Director Suzanne Roy stated in the release.