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Judge Blocks County’s Ban Of Elephant Bullhooks Days Before Circus Arrives

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File photo of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephants. (credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephants. (credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta/AP) — A Fulton County judge has temporarily blocked the county’s ban of the use of bullhooks by elephant trainers days before the circus comes to town.

Commissioner Rob Pitts told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Judge John Goger’s order effectively halts the county from enforcing the ban.

“The fact is that Fulton County has been providing animal control services in Atlanta, and Atlanta has been paying Fulton County for those services,” Pitts said in a statement to the Journal-Constitution. “That amounts to an Implied Agreement/Contract.”

The decision comes days before the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus comes to Philips Arena in Atlanta. The show begins Wednesday and runs to Feb. 20.

Pitts said he worried the judge’s order could extend to other animal control measures.

Fulton County was the first Georgia jurisdiction to approve a bullhook ban when lawmakers passed the ban in June.

The circus’ operators could not be reached for comment on the decision.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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