Elephant crushes caretaker
PORTLAND, MAINE- The founder of a facility that cares for retired circus elephants was stepped on and crushed to death by an elephant.
Deputies say 56-year-old James Laurita was found unresponsive in a barn and believe he fell before one of the elephants in his care stepped on his chest. They consider it an accident.
Laurita founded Hope Elephants when two animals from the Carson and Barnes Circus were retired.
Rosie and Opal arrived last year in Hope, Maine.
Laurita was a veterinarian who sold his practice to establish Hope Elephants.
He worked with Rosie and Opal decades ago when he was a handler for the circus.