Royal Hanneford Circus returns to Westchester

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WHITE PLAINS -

A popular show is celebrating its 43rd year bringing smiles to the young and old across Westchester.

Crowds packed the County Center in White Plains to take part in the Royal Hanneford Circus.

This year's show will be the last time elephants will be featured.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law last year prohibiting the animals to be used for entertainment, saying it poses a threat to their health and can be abusive.

Animal advocates say the law is a step forward in preventing animal cruelty.

"I'm glad that we do have the ban against elephants but we need more," says advocate Lisa Kelly. "Many countries have banned all animals from performing in circuses or any entertainment act and unfortunately the United States is lagging behind."

Show organizers deny any claims of abuse and say not having elephants anymore is a great disappointment.

"Our family is very sad over this ban. I know a lot of the children and the adults will also greatly miss these animals. The circus will never be the same without them for sure," says circus co-owner Nellie Hanneford.

The circus runs through the end of the holiday weekend before returning to town again next year.

The ban on elephants goes into effect next year.

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