Circus owner guilty of Anne the Elephant welfare offences


A circus owner has been found guilty of animal welfare offences for their mistreatment of Anne the Elephant, a protected animal for whom he was responsible.

Bobby Roberts was found guilty by a Magistrates Court sitting at Northampton Crown Court of causing unnecessary suffering, failing to prevent unnecessary suffering and failure to meet his responsibilities towards the elephant.

Richard Crowley, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor at CPS East Midlands said: "The images of the abuse suffered by Anne the Elephant upset a great many people across the country. This defendant had clear responsibilities for this elephants welfare, which he wilfully neglected and treated her appallingly. She was kept chained up, beaten regularly and suffered significantly as a result.

"Owning animals to provide entertainment carries important responsibilities for their welfare. Not only did Roberts breach his professional obligations towards Anne, but the neglect and abuse was a criminal matter, which has now been dealt with by the court. He gave instructions for Anne to be chained and took no action to prevent her from the beatings she had received, failing to provide any training or supervision for the man responsible."

The abuse suffered by Anne the Elephant was uncovered by Animal Defenders International, who initiated a private prosecution. The Crown Prosecution Service agreed to take the case on, following a submission from their legal representatives.

Bobby Roberts was found guilty following a five-day Magistrates Court trial, held at Northampton Crown Court. His wife, Moira Roberts was acquitted of the same offences.