June 23, 2018
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Hope veterinarian given OK to keep elephant in yard

Photo courtesy of Jim Laurita
Photo courtesy of Jim Laurita
Rosie the elephant.
By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff

HOPE, Maine — The man who wants to bring an elephant to Maine has approval from his town.

Jim Laurita, a veterinarian in Hope, is working to bring Rosie the elephant from her home at an Oklahoma circus she shares with her 27 herd members to a barn he plans to build in his yard.

The Carson and Barnes Circus animal has arthritis and Laurita would like to try new types of therapy on her legs.

According to Hope town administrator and code enforcement officer Jon Duke, the planning board approved Laurita’s plan this week. Laurita now needs a building permit, a state license and a federal license to bring Rosie to Maine.

Duke said the town found that allowing an elephant to live in Hope “wouldn’t be too onerous” on town resources.

Laurita and the 42-year-old elephant are old friends.

In the late 1970s, Laurita dropped out of college to join Carson and Barnes C ircus, where Rosie lives. He worked as a juggler, a ring announcer and eventually an elephant trainer for the circus on and off for several years before leaving to work with elephants at zoos around the country. By the late 1980s, he returned to school and became a veterinarian before heading to Maine.

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