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Shekinah

Shekinah, one of Jay Owenhouses's tigers.

After a barrage of criticism sparked by an animal rights group, Columbia Theatre Director Gian Paul Morelli said the response has quieted some and Thursday’s illusionist magic show involving two Bengal tigers is still on at the Longview theater.

Montana-based Jay Owenhouse, who has performed twice before at the theater, will put on an illusionist magic show Thursday night including stunts such as an escape from a suspended straitjacket. The show also will feature twin sister Bengal tigers “Shekinah” and “Sheena.”

The theater received a total of about 4,500 emails last weekend about Owenhouse’s act, Morelli said, but it hasn’t been hit with much push back since. Ticket sales for the event are up since the emails started coming in, he noted. The Columbia Theatre is renting out its stage to Owenhouse but is not officially hosting the event. All profits go to Owenhouse after his expenses.

Morelli said he thinks the theater is going to be in the clear.

“At this point, we’re going to rely on the fact that if we have a problem, we’re (just) going to call the police.”

The protests were instigated by the Florida-based Big Cat Rescue group.

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