USDA cites circus for elephant’s Butte escape


Viola the elephant was the subject of worldwide attention seven weeks ago when she briefly escaped while being bathed in an enclosure at the back of the Butte Civic Center.

Recorded for posterity by a passerby, video of the older pachyderm’s trek as she strolled down Harrison Avenue and then veered left to a small grassy yard just past Lucky Lil’s Casino went viral.

Local news outlets encouraged viewers who had “front-row seats” at her escape to share their stories. The British Broadcasting Corporation reported on her failed attempt, as did The New York Times. The video hit all the major networks and was shared a thousand and one times on social media.

Viola’s escape from her leaser, the Jordan World Circus, outraged many, including officials with the world’s largest animal rights organization, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

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It wasn’t long after the April 16 incident that a PETA official informed the U.S. Department of Agriculture of Viola’s most recent escape in Butte. According to PETA’s website, the USDA recently cited the elephant’s owner, Carson & Barnes Circus, for “not properly securing her and failing

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