Magic show at Nevada casinos cited for animal abuse

Reported by: Van Tieu
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Updated: 3/07/2014 7:24 pm
RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- A magic show with a cast of exotic animals is coming to Harrah's in Reno this month, but before the curtain even opens, it’s under fire for animal abuse citations.

Dirk Arthur's Wild Magic was issued warnings by the United States Department of Agriculture for several violations. The magic show blends illusions and exotic animal performances. Its website claims the show is dedicated to thrilling audiences and increasing awareness for preserving wild life, but a formal USDA warning against the production illustrates a different story. It states two young tigers and a lion were de-clawed, an illegal and painful procedure that may cause chronic health problems.

The report also notes that a snow leopard was kept in a rusty cage, a bobcat was improperly chained, and the animals were kept in spaces so small, it didn't provide sufficient space for normal posture.

The show is currently featured at Harrah's in Laughlin, and will run at Harrah's Reno from late March to late June.

A spokesperson for Caesar's Entertainment Corp., which owns the two Harrah's casinos say they were surprised by the citations, and demanded Arthur correct the violations.

“We’re confident that he's going to be able to take care of all the things,” says Spokesman Gary Thompson. “If he doesn't then we'll decide at that point. But right now, he's doing what we've requested and what the investigation showed needed to be taken care of."

People for the Ethical treatment of Animals, or PETA, is calling foul.

"There's no fixing painful declawing and disregard for [a] nearly decades old policy prohibiting painful declawing of cats,” says Carney Anne Nasser, an attorney at PETA. “That can’t be rectified."

Nasser says PETA closely tracks exotic animal exhibitors and whether it is at a circus or a casino show, they don't believe there is any humane way to force wild animals, like lions and tigers to perform.

"When they're used in circuses or shows, like Mr. Arthur's magic show, they spend most of their lives in tiny transport cages that are barely bigger than their bodies."

PETA encourages anybody who cares about animals to not attend any entertainment acts that force animals to perform.

Calls and e-mails to Dirk Arthur have not yet been returned.
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