Mayor, party company responds to PETA's criticism

Pinellas County, Florida -- The elephant seen wading in the Gulf of Mexico at Redington Beach is in the spotlight again.

Animal activist group PETA told 10 News "Judy" the elephant posed a risk to herself and the public.

10 News called PETA to find out why they think there was "gross disregard of federal and state handling requirements, in place for dangerous wild animals." A spokesperson said:

"Direct control from a responsible handler of all times - the photo and video circulating does not depict the handler anywhere near the elephant."

"Judy" was at the beach for a birthday party, which turned into a birthday surprise for beachgoers.

You can see in the YouTube video: the elephant was standing alone in the water. The onlookers were close by on the shore. Many were amazed.

One witness had this to say about safety, "When it was on the water - the trainer was right there with the elephant."

We found the Redington Beach Mayor at Town Hall, by phone, "Hindsight is 20/20, but did we make a mistake? No. The trainer seemed to know his animal well."

Xtreme Entertainment, who was in charge of the party and liable for safety, isn't worried.

"I think its ridiculous, ridiculous it was an amazing experience for the people, and for Judy, to get in the ocean and have some fun. We only deal with responsible handlers - this is their specialty we leave it in their hands to handle the animals."

The woman who threw the party says she would do it again in a heart beat. The Town says that wont happen again.

They also say there's no need for an ordinance as this was a once in a lifetime thing.

Elephant spotted in the Gulf of Mexico


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