'Cowboy monkey rodeo' not scheduled for Revs 2017 season
A controversial event featuring monkeys riding dogs at a York Revolution game will not return to PeoplesBank Park this season.
York Revolution director of marketing and communications Doug Eppler confirmed Thursday that the "Cowboy Monkey Rodeo" event was not scheduled for the 2017 season.
"Cowboy Monkey Rodeo," during which capuchin monkeys ride dogs that herd sheep, was featured at a York Revolution game three times in the past. July 2016 was the most recent visit to PeoplesBank Park.
Last year the event caused some controversy after animal rights activists protested it, saying that it was cruel to the animals.
According to a news release from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the organization nixed the event after protests at the game last year.
However, Eppler said the protests did not factor into the event not being included on the schedule this year.
“We almost never repeat entertainment acts back to back," he said.
He said it's "standard procedure" for the organization to change up their events each season.
“They were never on the schedule for 2017," he said.
Controversy: Last year, event sponsor The Lube Center pulled out after activists claimed that the animals are abused at the event.
"As a company we decided we wanted to be sensitive to the community ... and this was the best thing for us to do," Michelle Rankin, The Lube Center's community outreach manager, said at the time.
Local activist Jane Heller said at the time that the monkeys used in these traveling exhibitions are tethered to the dogs, which then “race around with the monkey on, pretending to be cowboys.”
According to information provided by the Humane Society of the United States, “the dogs can reach speeds of up 30 mph and abruptly stop, start, turn, lie down and stand up, causing the monkey to be violently jerked forward and backward and to slide wildly from side to side.
The monkeys can be "subjected to high, repetitive head accelerations — similar to what rodeo participants or passengers involved in motor vehicle accidents experience — the monkeys are especially vulnerable to neck injuries, such as whiplash. The dog may also inadvertently run the monkey into objects, such as walls, fences and poles," the society states.
Response: Eric Menzer, president and general manager of the York Revolution, said at the time that he had not contacted a specific state agency regarding the event and its organizer, Tim Lepard, but he had seen complaints sent to governmental organizations about them.
Menzer said the Humane Society fact sheet that is sent around also is sent to governmental organizations, adding that those organizations have not felt the need to investigate Lepard.
“If he was really abusing animals, I'm very confident that the appropriate governmental authorities would step in,” Menzer added.
If authorities had deemed there was animal abuse, then the team would not be holding the exhibition, he said.
Eppler reiterated those thoughts Thursday.
Additionally, he said that the Revolution would not rule out hosting the event again in another season.
For more information on Revolution's events, check their website, www.yorkrevolution.com.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at@YDDornblaser