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Circus lionized for cutting animal acts will bring them back

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/21/2017 By MARK PRATT, Associated Press
In this May 1, 2014 photo, an elephant waits to entertain the opening night crowd at the Melha Shrine Circus at the Eastern States Coliseum in West Springfield, Mass. After earning praise from animal rights groups for dropping animal performances in 2016, the Melha Shrine Circus will bring back the animal acts for seven performances over four days in May 2017. (David Molnar/The Republican via AP) © The Associated Press In this May 1, 2014 photo, an elephant waits to entertain the opening night crowd at the Melha Shrine Circus at the Eastern States Coliseum in West Springfield, Mass. After earning praise from animal rights groups for dropping animal performances in 2016, the Melha Shrine Circus will bring back the animal acts for seven performances over four days in May 2017. (David Molnar/The Republican via AP)

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts circus is being lionized for bringing back animal acts a year after earning praise from animal rights groups for dropping them.

In this May 1, 2014 photo, tigers perform at the opening night of the Melha Shrine Circus at the Eastern States Coliseum in West Springfield, Mass. After earning praise from animal rights groups for dropping animal performances in 2016, the Melha Shrine Circus will bring back the animal acts for seven performances over four days in May 2017. (David Molnar/The Republican via AP) © The Associated Press In this May 1, 2014 photo, tigers perform at the opening night of the Melha Shrine Circus at the Eastern States Coliseum in West Springfield, Mass. After earning praise from animal rights groups for dropping animal performances in 2016, the Melha Shrine Circus will bring back the animal acts for seven performances over four days in May 2017. (David Molnar/The Republican via AP)

The Melha Shrine Circus says performing elephants, tigers and dogs will return in May because that's what people want.

The charitable circus says attendance dropped last year without the animals, and for the first time in its 63-year history, the circus lost money.

Sheryl Becker is the daughter of a Shriner and an animal rights activist who started an online petition to get the circus to drop animal acts. She says the animals often are mistreated.

But the circus says it only hires animal acts that treat their animals properly.

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