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ASPCA to pay $9.3m to Ringling Bros.

WASHINGTON — The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will receive $9.3 million from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals under a settlement resolving protracted litigation over how the circus cared for elephants.

Circus operator Feld Entertainment Inc. and the ASPCA filed dismissal papers in federal court in Washington Friday, ending litigation that had dragged on for more than 10 years, both sides announced.

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Legal proceedings by Feld against the Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, Animal Welfare Institute, Animal Protection Institute United with Born Free USA, former Ringling Bros. employee Tom Rider, and the attorneys involved will continue, according to a statement.

‘‘Animal activists have been attacking our family, our company, and our employees for decades because they oppose animals in circuses,’’ Kenneth Feld, chairman and chief executive officer of Feld Entertainment, said Friday.

Ringling Bros. won at trial in December 2009, when the judge ruled the case was based on untruthful testimony of star witness Rider, who had cared for Ringling elephants. The court found he received more than $190,000 over eight years from animal rights groups.

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