Stop Harassment and Abuse of Captive Elephants

elephant zoo

Target: President of the Fish and Game Commission of Pennsylvania, Robert W. Schlemmer

Goal: Stop the Pittsburgh Zoo from using herding dogs to harass its resident elephants

The Pittsburgh Zoo is under investigation for using dogs to harass and nip at its elephants to herd them. The herding dogs are at risk of being kicked, trampled, and killed by frightened elephants. The elephants forced into this situation are visibly agitated and often display signs of aggression towards the dogs. This chaotic environment does nothing to help the elephants; it only causes them to become more dangerous to guests and their trainers.

Allowing dogs to harass and abuse the elephants is illegal. The zoo insists that its intentions are pure and the elephants are very well taken care of. According to the zoo’s spokesperson, the dogs are only a fraction of the positive reinforcement training that the elephants receive. Causing an elephant undue stress and pain and putting dogs in life or death situations does not qualify as positive reinforcement training.

There have already been two cases of elephants turning on their trainers at the Pittsburgh Zoo. One incident was fatal and the other resulted in a broken leg. The elephants are smart enough to understand and learn commands. If the large creatures do not want to perform, they should not be harassed into obedience. Sign this petition to demand that the Fish and Game Commission stop this unnecessary harassment and cruelty at the Pittsburgh Zoo.


Dear Mr. Schlemmer,

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has approached you about the abuse and harassment of elephants at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Trainers are now utilizing herding dogs to move, corral, and otherwise bother the resident elephants. The zoo claims that the dogs act as an important barrier between trainer and elephant, and that the dogs’ and elephants’ relationship is a harmonious one. For obvious reasons, this statement is false.

The elephants at the Pittsburgh zoo display signs of aggression, fear, and confusion when being chased by the dogs. The dogs are at risk of being kicked, stepped on, and killed. This elephant-dog relationship does not guarantee trainers’ safety, either. An elephant has already deliberately killed a trainer at the Pittsburgh Zoo by crushing the man’s chest with its massive head.

Keeping the elephants happy, safe, and content should be the zoo’s main priority. Harassing the elephants must end. Mr. Schlemmer, your jurisdiction covers wild animals within the state of Pennsylvania. Elephants are wild animals, and they are in need of your help. Please put an end to this cruel and unusual treatment of elephants at the Pittsburgh Zoo.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: StuSeeger via Wikimedia

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  1. If dogs were to herd particularly stupid humans instead of smart elephants I guess there would be no end to the herding…ever!

  2. Why must a zoo have “trainers” to “train” their elephants? Are you a circus?


  4. Kathy Khoshfahm says:

    It is high time Mr. Schlemmer that we give these animals the respect and dignity they deserve. I am so tired of signing petitions that never seem to make a difference. You are in a position to put an end to this abuse, so please – do it! The Animal Kingdom has certainly paid their dues and it is high time we left them alone to live their lives on this Earth, free from torture and murder. It is their world too…

  5. Valerie Nordberg says:

    Captive elephants have a hard enough life without senseless teasing like this.

  6. Leslie Stanick says:

    Herding elephants with dogs is unnecessary and dangerous, for both animals, and evidently two trainers. These elephants would be better off living in a sanctuary. There are two that would be fine for them in the US: in Tennessee and California. Send the elephants there where they can live without harassment.

  7. Kristine Osborn says:

    Maybe this is lazy people who do not want to do their jobs and would rather have the dogs do it for them. Maybe they are afraid because they have abused the elephants in the past and are afraid because elephants never forget??????

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