Magician's Act Draws A Brave, Shivering Protest

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RENO, NV - You couldn't see goosebumps underneath her stripes, but one had to assume they were there.

Curled up in a tiny cage on a Reno sidewalk, a dedicated volunteer for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA, certainly looked cold and a little miserable, as a person wearing little more than paint on a day like this had every right to be.

And that would be consistent with the message of this sidewalk protest.

PETA contends magician Dirk Arthur who's three month run in Harrah's Sammy's Showroom starts tonight has been in violation of USDA standards, cruelly confining his tigers and leopards, failing to provide adequate space or exercise and illegally declawing them.

"It seems like violating the animal welfare act is more the rule than the exception. This behavior has persisted for years. His most recent violation was just last month.

Arthur says those supposed violations weren't citations, but inspection reports, each issue raised quickly addressed and corrected. He says his cats are loved, well treated and live a good life.

"I'm the wrong guy to pick on and invent crazy stuff," he says. "The animals are everything to me."

Arthur says this is the first time in his career he's been the object of a PETA protest and admits to being a little surprised by the attention.

People walking by were likely surprised as well.

PETA protests tend to be purposely provocative, this one certainly qualifies.

"Provacative demonstrations draw a lot of attention to the issue," he says.

A young, attractive woman in body paint and little else will certainly do that.

Passersby might question or debate the issue.

Bravely shivering in a cramped cage, enduring strangers puzzled looks and cold temperatures. few could doubt her commitment to the cause.