Dennis Bring, the Mayor of Sheffield Lake, Ohio, felt pretty strongly this afternoon when he pulled up to the Kelly Miller Circus and saw a group of peaceful protesters outside. The protesters were part of a Facebook group called “Circus Protest”. Their goal for the day was to educate the public regarding mistreatment of wild animals that are kept in captivity and forced to perform in Circus acts across the country.
The protest started off well, with about 20 demonstrators arriving an hour before the show was scheduled to start. They lined themselves along Lake Rd. on the lawn of the Apples Supermarket and could be seen with signs that read “Elephants are Beaten”, “Google: Circus Animal Training” & “Your Fun is their Misery”. They orchestrated a peaceful & respectful protest. Together they stood silently in the scorching sun hoping that their message would resonate with some of the would-be circus goers.
At approximately 1:15pm the Mayor arrived at the Kelly Miller Circus, shaking hands with fellow citizens and beaming with pride that the festivities were in his hometown. However, what he saw directly outside of the circus enraged him.
The Mayor walked angrily towards the protestors and began yelling at them from a distance to remove themselves from the property. The event coordinator of the protest, Ms. Tiffany A. (last name abbreviated upon request) and the Mayor began walking towards each other with Tiffany stopping a few feet away from Mr. Bring. The Mayor didn’t stop but continued towards her and came within an inch of the woman’s face. Glaring down at her he said in a threatening manner that she would be arrested if she didn’t leave the property immediately. The peaceful protester asked the Mayor “why are you in my face?” to which he responded “I’m not in your face, your in mine”! The Mayor stands at a towering 6’3″ while the 49 year old female protester is a mere 5’4″.
Fun Fact: The opening act of the Kelly Miller Circus began with a thank you to their sponsors, the Mayor of Sheffield Lake, Dennis Bring, was the first name included in the opening public announcement of the 5pm show we attended.
“I was afraid, he’s a big guy, I didn’t want any problems” – Protester
Several other protesters who saw and heard the confrontation were interviewed and went on record sharing what transpired. Eye witness reports all confirm that the Mayor approached Tiffany in a threatening manner, his body language was aggressive and he was trying to intimidate the peaceful protesters. One girl said she had to walk away from the Mayor when she thought he was coming towards her. “I was afraid, he’s a big guy, I didn’t want any problems”.
COBRA Says: For the Mayor to try and impose his position and size against anyone in a threatening manner is outrageous. All he had to do was go up to them, ask them nicely if they would move and I’m certain that these people would have moved. Even if they refused to move, that’s there right, and if they were wrong, he should have just called the cops. To get into their faces, belittling, demeaning and accosting them in the manner that he did makes him a scumbag! Anyone who did this to him would be jailed!
A permit is not required when assembling a peaceful protest on public property. The property that the protesters were occupying was just a few yards away from where they eventually moved to, both parcels of land were public domain. The Sheffield Police were dispatched by the Mayor shortly after the confrontation and they asked the protesters politely if they could move a few yards further down. The protesters complied, no arrests were made.
It should be noted that in the 7 years that Tiffany A., has been protesting for various causes that this is the first time she has ever had issue. “In all my years of doing this, it’s always been peaceful, never in my wildest dreams did I think that the Mayor of my own hometown would act this way.”
We then went inside the circus to see if any apparent signs of animal abuse could be found. None were discovered. However, we did speak with Julio Rosales whose family has been working for the Kelly Miller Circus for 5 generations. Mr. Rosales said that in the 8 years he’s been in the business that he’s never witnessed a single act of abuse.
Seeing the animals outside was a different story. They were kept in very small spaces with little to no room to move about, especially the elephants. The average elephant life span is around 70 years in its natural habitat, but circus elephants only live to be about 15 years old. This is largely due to captivity-induced arthritis which results in the elephant having to be euthanized.
SCUMBAGGED Tip: Mr. Mayor, your small city of 9,000 residents deserve much better representation than what you gave them today. It’s not your duty to harass protesters (some of whom actually voted you into office) anywhere, even it it’s in your own city and even if they are in the wrong. Next time you sponsor an event or go out in public and something isn’t to your liking, don’t take it so personally. Your actions don’t just shed light on the various character defects that you apparently have, but they show signs of the “above the law” mentality that can begin to formulate in those with power. Regarding the Circus, for the most part it was innocent. However, keeping an animal like an elephant who can walk up to 50 miles in the wild in a day in such a closed environment where it can barely walk at all just doesn’t feel quite right.