The city’s legal department is preparing for a courtroom battle to keep Lucy the elephant in Edmonton following continued lawsuit threats by an animal-rights group yesterday.
“We’re ready and waiting,” City of Edmonton lawyer Steven Phipps said. “No one wants to encourage litigation, but we’re confident in our position.”
Zoocheck Canada representatives claim the city hasn’t provided substantial proof the aging Asian elephant is too sick to be moved to a California wildlife sanctuary, and say the group’s lawyers are preparing a lawsuit.
Since initial requests from the group were made, city officials have stood firm in their position that a move could potentially kill Lucy and she’ll receive the best veterinary treatment in Edmonton.
“We’ve provided them with everything of substance,” Phipps said, adding all information on Lucy’s independent exam and health plan has been made available to the group and is available to the public online.
Threats from Zoocheck come as no surprise to city officials, Phipps said, as representatives have been warning of legal action since October, after former The Price is Right host Bob Barker visited Edmonton on a failed mission to free Lucy from the Valley Zoo.
Spokeswoman Julie Woodyear said the lawsuit will contend the city is violating Alberta’s Animal Protection Act by keeping a social animal in solitary confinement, away from other elephants.
“We are confident with our position. If they proceed with legal action, we would respond to protect Lucy,” Phipps said.
Lucy recently began a health regimen of diet and exercise to combat her chronic health issues, following the advice in a report by a veterinary consultant in San Diego.
Zoo officials reported last week the 34-year-old elephant has lost 400 pounds in the month since the plan was implemented.
With files from the Canadian Press