Local business bans animal acts from its nursing homes

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — A Bloomfield corporation managing 21 senior living residences in four states has banned animal acts from performing at its facilities.

The decision was prompted by a complaint by the organization PETA — People for Ethical Treatment of Animals.
In a statement, PETA said Jupiter Communities, located at 400 Broadacres Drive, agreed to cancel a Valentine’s Day performance by a capuchin monkey named Django. The performance was to take place in a facility located in Pennsylvania. Jupiter also manages facilities in New Jersey, Florida and Colorado.

According to PETA, “The monkey is missing her canine teeth, which were likely extracted in an effort to reduce the risk of injury to humans who handle her. Procedures to remove or grind down monkeys’ teeth have been deemed unethical by top veterinary organizations and have been prohibited by a U.S. Department of Agriculture policy since 2006.”

PETA became aware of the performance on Sunday, Jan. 20.
In a Friday, Feb. 1 telephone interview, PETA spokeswoman Debbie Metzler said the performance by Django was to have been held at Juniper Villages at Mt. Joy, Pa.

“The Jupiter center took this a step further,” Metzler said of the home office. “They made a pledge to take off any animal acts on any other community schedule.”

Metzler said Django’s performance came to the attention of PETA because it was listed on the website of the animal handler. According to Metzler, Django is 26 years old and has been entertaining since she was two weeks old. The animal rights organization hopes the animal will be retired.
Jeanine Genauer, a spokeswoman for Jupiter Communities, said as soon as the company found out about the performance, they contacted the residence and instructed them it had to be cancelled.

“We reminded all buildings last week we do not promote having animals for entertainment reasons,” she said in a telephone interview. “We reminded everybody that Jupiter does not endorse this.”

Metzler said there are some jurisdictions that ban some animal acts, but New Jersey and Hawaii have done more.
“Recently, in New Jersey, they passed a wild and exotic animal ban,” she said.

The bill, called “Nosey’s Law,” was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy on Dec. 14, 2018. Named after an elephant, it prohibits the use of elephants and other wild or exotic animals in traveling animal acts. Thirteen animals classifications are either totally or partially protected by the bill. They are artiodactyla, which includes hippos, deer and moose, but not covered include domestic cattle, sheep and goats; camelidae, which include certain types of camels and llamas; canidae, which includes wolves, fox and coyote, but not covered are domestic dogs; elephantidae which are African and Asian elephants; felidae, which are all cats, but not covered are domestic cats; marsupialia, which include kangaroos, possum and opossum; non-human primates; perissodactyla, which include zebra and rhinos, but not covered are domestic horses, ponies, donkeys or mules; pinnipedia, which are seals, sea lions and walruses; ursidae, which are bears; and elasmobranchii, which are fish such as sharks and skates, but not protected are rays. Violations of the law would incur civil, but not criminal, penalties.

“It’s just not right to cart animals around, living in unfortunate surroundings and having people touch them,” Metzler said. “PETA encourages people not to attend performances that exploit wild animals. They don’t deserve to be treated as lesser beings.”