As people headed toward the big top on Moores Lane, the activists handed out literature and held up signs. A representative of the Greenport Fire Department, which sponsors the circus as a fundraising event, objected to the protest taking place on the Polo Grounds, Southold police officers on hand said their presence was lawful.
John Di Leonardo, president of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION) was joined by PETA member Bill Gibbons of Orient and several other activists. Leonardo, who described himself as an anthrozoologist, said that he and his group have protested at each of the Cole Bros. Circus appearances on Long Island.