The backstage scene brings into question the treatment of the rescue animals associated with Popovich's acts. According to Popovich's website, he is a lifelong advocate of animal rights and the animals featured in his show are "ambassadors" for all animals seeking homes who "live in comfortable quarters." The show did not respond to a request for comment.
San Sal, a recent attendee of a Popovich show, shared on the Facebook event group Animal Lovers Call For Action a troubling account of what she observed:
I'm only visiting LV and saw the show tonight, as I thought my son would like it. I HOPE YOU CAN GET TO THE BOTTOM OF WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING WITH THESE ANIMALS!! We were front row and able to see the offside of back stage. First horrifying thing, the goose was waddling off stage and stopped, a stage hand reached out and SNATCHED the goose by the neck, yanking it off stage, NO EXAGGERATION. The white poodle has a significant ear injury and possible ear infection, kept pawing at it. The wire fox terriers seemed to have eye issues, perhaps conjunctivitis. The handling of the cats going into to apartment building was VERY ROUGH. The animals looked mostly healthy otherwise.
In a statement to Action News 13, V Theater said Popovich's show has played at the theater for 10 years and animal abuse has never been witnessed at the theater. Popovich also reportedly has all the necessary permissions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), state of Nevada and his veterinarian to operate his show.
Levi said that she's spoken to the USDA and has already filed a formal complaint.
Watch this video about the end of Ringling Bros. elephants performing at the circus: