No One Approved The Elephant At This Wedding
Apparently, it's illegal to have an elephant at your wedding in Huntington Beach. However, that didn't stop one couple from riding one to their wedding at a hotel this month. On October 18, an elephant was a guest at a wedding at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, L.A. Times reports. Elephants at weddings is a common tradition in Indian culture, though it's not allowed in Huntington Beach. The elephant was spotted and reported to authorities and animals right group Animal Defenders International (ADI) by an animal activist. The activist managed to snap a photo and send it to ADI, even though they were already busy that day monitoring a bull riding competition at the beach, which is apparently a real thing that exists.
The elephant in question came from Have Trunk Will Travel, a company that specializes in elephant rental. The company has been accused of animal abuse by ADI in the past, particularly during the filming of Water for Elephants. The company has disagreed with these allegations, but there is a video of the alleged abuse here.
It's this kind of potential abuse that led Huntington Beach to pass an ordinance in 2002 forbidding any kind of performance by a wild or exotic animal. There are three exceptions: the animal activity is approved by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, it's part of a routine veterinary procedure, or a film permit has been issued.
Julie Toledo, the City's spokeswoman, says no such permit was issued for this particular elephant wedding. The general manager of the Hyatt, Paul Devitt, said that they had assumed the elephant rental agency and the wedding party had cleared the elephant with the City. Have Trunk has a sister site just for having an elephant at your wedding, appropriately named Wedding Elephants, where they state in their FAQ that it is the wedding party's responsibility to get all the proper permits, not theirs.
This reminds us of the time Tyga got a tiger, but didn't know it was illegal.