Man gives up fight to keep elephants

August 19, 2009 5:58:58 PM PDT
A Texas man who has battled federal authorities over the three elephants he keeps in a barn behind his traveler trailer is ready to give up. Willie Davenport told the Houston Chronicle that the endangered elephants named Boo, Tina and Jewel are his family.

Davenport lives in Legget, a small town 50 miles north of Houston. He's been caring for the massive mammals for years, hoping to resurrect a circus family legacy.

But the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleges that the thinnest elephant, Jewel, had improper veterinary care and was losing too much weight.

And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department said Davenport failed to acquire necessary permits when he bought Tina and Jewel from a Florida animal trainer for $150,000.

Davenport's grandfather, Terrell Jacobs, performed with the 1939 Ringling Bros. circus with one of the largest group of animals ever assembled.

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