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Board Passes On PETA Funds For Lucy The Elephant Renovations

By Kristen Johanson

MARGATE, N.J., (CBS) -- With Margate's famous 'Lucy the Elephant' needing a $55,000 makeover, the board sent out a call for help and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, known as PETA, responded.

A letter came in to Lucy's Board of Trustees last week, from PETA offering to help fund the restoration project, on a few conditions.

Executive Director Richard Helfant said PETA wanted to hang a banner on Lucy, saying:

"'Shackles, hooks, loneliness...all under the big-top' which is a dig to the circus industry. Then they wanted to put a foam shackle around one of Lucy's legs, and attach a teardrop under her eye."

As Lucy is a kid-favorite, the Board declined the offer, citing sensitivity to children.

"They lead people to believe they were going to fund the entire thing, which is $55,000. What they offered us was $2,000."

Helfant says Lucy is still in need of the touch-ups, and they are hopeful they will get the money.

"Lucy's mission is about historic preservation and we have to stay focused on that. If I could have used Lucy's celebrity to help further their cause, without any further controversy or downside, we certainly would have entertained that, but the risk was not worth the reward here."

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