A star Ringling Brothers circus trainer has been acquitted of a charge he abused an elephant outside a San Jose performance last summer.
A jury deliberated for about two hours before clearing 31-year-old Mark Oliver Gebel, whose defense attorney did not call a single witness. Gebel could have faced six months in jail and a 1-thousand dollar fine.
Gebel allegedly used a straight prong on a hooked stick to jab an elephant named Asia who was moving too slowly into a performance.
A San Jose police sergeant and a Humane Society investigator say they heard Gebel yell and saw him lunge at Asia, though they didn´t see any contact.
Defense attorney James McManis says the witnesses are desperately trying looking for evidence to support their opposition to circuses.