Circus Lena, coming to Fort Lauderdale, has been linked to a controversial business

A traveling circus making stops in South Florida, which does use animals in its acts, is run by the same family that was driven to shut down a related company after complaints about animal abuse.  

The family-owned and operated Circus Lena, which has set up in Aventura and Westland Mall, will soon open in Fort Lauderdale, said spokeswoman Jessica Ramos.

Ramos did not respond to questions about how Circus Lena and Ramos Bros. Circus – which shut down in 2018 – were related. However, a January LinkedIn post by Oliver Ramos, who is listed as CEO of First Choice Entertainment and the owner of the Ramos Bros. Circus, asked fans to check out “our sister company Circus Lena.”   

Circus Lena makes stops all around the United States providing a circus show with acts like jugglers and clowns. No animals are in any of the photos promoting the endeavor. 

When asked about the controversy and current use of animals, Ramos said: “Visit before you believe all the lies they tell.”

That site catalogs alleged mistreatment of animals by the well know advocacy group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). 

Ramos said her family has been in the business for many generations.

In 2016, Ramos Bros. Circus suffered significant blowback after a mall in Las Vegas canceled a show after accusations of animal abuse.

While Jessica Ramos denied any abuse of horses back in 2016, the circus continues to suffer from the effects of PETA’s movement against circus groups that use animals.

PETA specifically targeted the Ramos Bros. Circus in 2015 when people began contacting the organization complaining about what they said was a lack of care for animals. PETA contacted the USDA, which discovered the circus had been operating with an expired license since 2010 and that their animals were living in poor conditions.

“The PETA situation has really harmed my family, my children especially,” said Ramos.

Ramos. Bros isn’t the only circus to be accused of animal abuse in recent years. PETA has been protesting the use of animals in circus shows for over seven years, and after the Ringling Bros. controversy, many circuses who used animals were boycotted and run out of business.

In 2016, Ramos posted a tweet from her circus representative account about PETA’s president, Ingrid Newkirk. 

The tweets consist of an out-of-context quote by Newkirk from a 2003 interview with the New Yorker magazine, followed by a meme.

A tweet by Jessica Ramos from 2016 about PETA president Ingrid Newkirk. The tweet refers to a quote by Newkirk from an interview with the New Yorker. (Screenshotted by Yanelis Luzrdo, via

Circus Lena is also facing hardship due to the pandemic, said Ramos.

The limited seating caused by CDC guidelines has made it difficult for the circus to make a profit, said Ramos.

“We’ve had to reduce our staff and that means more work spread out with the few here,” she said. “The juggler, the clown, the hand balancer all pitch in to set up and breakdown the tent and equipment,” said Ramos.

Contractors, architects, fire inspectors, police, zoning and electrical permits are just a few of the fees that Ramos said must be paid in each location before the circus can operate.

“In addition, property rental, advertising, performer salaries and utilities need to be paid in advance for the circus to operate,” said Ramos. 

Circus Lena has no intention of quitting, despite the hardships they’ve been facing.

“Our goal is to continue this tradition for generations to come,” said Ramos. “Even if it means to fight through the pandemic and the economic hardships that come with it.”

Audiences can expect to see an entertaining show, she said.

“Circus Lena is very passionate about entertaining and it shows when our performers pour their hearts out on stage,” said Ramos. “Each unique acrobat will be presenting their skilled traits to provide a plethora of emotions.”

Micheal Bausch, who attended a Circus Lena show back in March, said it was a cool and affordable experience.

“Me and my daughters really enjoyed the show, especially the fact that no animals have been [abused].”

Yanelis Luzardo is a senior majoring in Journalism with a Pre-Law and Film Certification. She wishes to pursue a career in the entertainment industry and continue her legal studies.