UPDATE: Elephant with circus shot in Tupelo

By NEMS Daily Journal

UPDATE: 3:58 p.m.
PETA has announced a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for shooting Carol, the 39-year-old Asian elephant used in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The reward is in addition to a $250 reward offered by former First Congressional District Rep. Travis Childers.

A circus elephant is alive after being hit by a bullet in a drive-by shooting early Tuesday morning in Tupelo, according to Tupelo Police.

The elephant, Carol, 39, is part of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus that is in town for a series of performances. The Asian elephant was in an area outside where the circus keeps animals at the Tupelo BancorpSouth Arena. A vehicle drove past the arena and fired into the area where the animals are kept, Police Chief Tony Carleton said. The shooting happened around 2 a.m.

Ringling Bros. Circus Spokesperson Melinda Hartline said the elephant is alert and under veterinary care. No other animals are people were injured during the incident.

“We are frustrated and appalled that something like this would happen on our property,” said Todd Hunt, the BancorpSouth Arena executive director. “Our concern is not only for the animals, but circus and arena personnel that were in the area. We want to assure them that Tupelo is safe and that this isn’t normal or tolerated.”

Former First Congressional District Representative Travis Childers was equally frustrated with the incident and has offered up a $250 reward for information leading to the arrests of anyone involved in the shooting.
“How sorry is it to shoot a defenseless animal that was brought here to make children smile,” he said. “This isn’t representative at all of Tupelo.”

A circus veterinarian is en route to Tupelo to assess the animal’s condition. The Tupelo Police are investigating the incident.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-773-8477. Childers is coordinating his reward with CrimeStopers.

More as it is available.