Cole Brothers Circus consistently fails to meet minimum federal standards for animal care as established by the Animal Welfare Act. Also, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Cole Brothers numerous times for failing to provide proper veterinary care, adequate shelter from the elements, and proper food and water, as well as failure to handle animals in a matter that prevents trauma and hard and ensures public safety.
In 2011, Cole Brothers pleaded guilty to violating the Endangered Species Act by illegally selling two Asian elephants named Tina and Jewel to a man who planned to use them for elephant rides and private parties. Cole Brothers and its owner, John Pugh were ordered to pay over $150,000 in fines for endangering the lives of Tina and Jewel.
In fact, Cole Brothers is routinely cited for cruelty to animals, and is on its way to being shut down for poor attendance and violating numerous laws designed to provide the most basic care for animals.