Cutchogue woman arrested for stealing circus signs

A Cole Bros elephant in 2011. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder file)
A Cole Bros elephant in 2011. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder file)

Marilyn Flynn of Cutchogue has been an outspoken critic of the Cole Bros. Circus in recent years, saying the organization promotes cruelty to elephants.

Now the 84-year-old’s opposition to the circus, which visits Greenport each year, has led to her arrest, Southold Town police said. 

Ms. Flynn was arrested after she was found by police with two stolen circus signs in her house Thursday afternoon, police said. The arrest came after a passing motorist allegedly observed her removing the signs from Main Road in Peconic around 3 p.m. A circus employee then wished to pursue charges, police said.

Ms. Flynn, who previously told The Suffolk Times that she has been a member of PETA for more than 20 years, has organized and attended local protests against the circus in recent years, according to previous Suffolk Times articles. She has also attended meetings asking the Greenport Fire Department to stop hosting the annual event, which she said .

“I’m certain that if the sponsors of the circus told their children and grandchildren how the elephants came to be in the circus, they’d have nightmares,” she wrote in a letter to The Suffolk Times last year. “These animals have been stolen from their mothers at a very young age; been orphaned because their mothers were shot and killed and their heads hacked off for the ivory in the tusks; and been mistreated in the course of their training to do silly tricks, and worse, rise on their hind legs, putting all their massive weight on their joints.”

Ms. Flynn, whose most recent letter against the circus was published on the day of her arrest,  was charged with petit larceny and processed at police headquarters. She was released on $100 bail and is due back in court at a later date, police said.

Cole Bros. Circus visits the Greenport Polo Grounds next Thursday, July 24 and Friday, July 25.