Authorities announced that a circus elephant was shot in Tupelo, Miss., early Tuesday morning.
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey elephant was hit in what seems to be an out-of-the-blue drive-by shooting around 2 a.m.
Circus spokeswoman Melinda Hartline has assured the public that the elephant is in stable condition and is under close veterinary care. The elephant, according to Hartline, was the only animal that was hit and no humans sustained any gunshot wounds.
The shooting has angered locals, who have explained that the pointless violence was abnormal for the area.
"We are frustrated and appalled that something like this would happen on our property," said Todd Hunt, the executive director of BancorpSouth Arena, the location the circus is being held. "Our concern is not only for the animals, but circus and arena personnel that were in the area. We want to assure them that Tupelo is safe and that this isn't normal or tolerated."
Former 1st Congressional District Representative Travis Childers was also appalled by the violence, and has even offered a $250 reward to anyone with information that will help the police catch the people responsible.
"How sorry is it to shoot a defenseless animal that was brought here to make children smile," Chiders said. "This isn't representative at all of Tupelo."