Activist found guilty of circus trespass in PA (W-B Times Leader)‏
Sent: June 22, 2010 12:47:41 PM
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
Animal activist is guilty of trespass
Jessyca Horst was found in restricted area at Irem Shrine Circus at Armory.
By Terrie Morgan-Besecker
June 22, 2010http://www.timesleader.com/news/Animal_activist_is_guilty_of_trespass_06-21-2010.html
WILKES-BARRE – An animal rights activist who was seeking to snap a
photo of an elephant that killed its handler was found guilty Monday
of trespassing at the Irem Shrine Circus held at the 109th Field
Artillery Armory in April.
Jessyca Horst, 27, of Kingston, admitted she was in an area that she
was not permitted to be in, but said she was simply trying to ensure
the elephant was OK and did not realize she could get arrested.
Horst was among a group of people who were protesting outside the
circus. She was charged with defiant trespass, a summary citation,
after she was discovered in an area behind the armory on April 10 –
the day after a circus elephant, Dumbo, killed its handler.
Authorities believe the elephant was startled after coming in contact
with an electrical wire and stomped the handler.
The area in question was open to circus patrons, but Horst did not
have a ticket for the show. At a brief hearing before Senior District
Judge Andrew Barilla, Horst admitted she was in the area. Barilla
found her guilty of the offense and fined her $100 plus court costs,
for a total of $247.
Speaking after the hearing, Horst said she simply wanted to ensure
that the elephant was being properly cared for following the fatality
and didn’t mean to cause any trouble.
“I never tried to hurt anybody, but I thought the animal didn’t do
that for no reason. I wanted to see what was going on and how the
animal was being treated,” she said.
Horst said she is a member of the group, People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals (PETA), which protests outside the circus
annually. She said she was not acting on behalf of PETA, however, when
she attempted to get a photo of the elephant.
Horst said she did not realize she was not permitted in the area
because there were many other people there as well.
“I wanted to make sure the animal was OK. Never in a million years did
I think I’d get in this much trouble for it,” she said. “I’m not
saying what I did was right. If I knew that it was this big of a deal,
I would never, ever have done it.”
Horst said she does not plan to contest the citation. While she still
opposes circus animal acts, she said she regrets the incident and
vowed she’ll never do it again.