MARGATE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) —  Lucy the Elephant is no stranger to renovation — Margate’s 90-ton, 134-year-old tourist attraction can’t help but have her wood and tin exterior weathered by the beach-front conditions of her Jersey Shore home.

The animal rights group PETA recently offered to pay $2,000 to help with renovations, but not without a price. The activist group wanted to use Lucy to further their own message about the plight of circus animals, WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported.

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“They also wanted to put a foam shackle around one of Lucy’s legs and affix a teardrop to her face under her eye,” attraction board leader Richard Helfant said.

Lucy needs around $55,000 worth of work, which includes a fresh coat of paint, rust removal and the replacement of railings around her riding carriage.


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Helfant said Lucy was intended to be a happy place for children, and PETA’s message was the complete opposite of what Lucy was about.

“Lucy is a happy place where kids come and leave with smiles on their faces,” he said. “And seeing Lucy in shackles with tears running down her face could be contrary to that.”

Losing the attraction’s status as national historic landmark was also a concern, Helfant added.

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