March 26th, 2013 by Nicole Meyer
The USDA has yet again let a chronic violator of federal animal welfare standards get away with little more than a slap on the wrist.
Just days before circus handler Hugo Liebel was set to face a hearing on March 26, 2013 for 33 violations of the Animal Welfare Act, the USDA announced it had reached a settlement. Instead of revoking Liebel’s license and handing down a maximum penalty of $330,000, the USDA settled with the agreement that Liebel would pay a meager civil penalty of $7,500 and cease and desist from violating the AWA.
The charges included failure to provide veterinary care for the weight loss and chronic skin condition of an elephant named Nosey, chaining her so tightly that she could not move or lie down, and handling her in a way that was dangerous to her and to the public.
This settlement is a shocking disappointment in its blatant disregard for animal welfare. The token penalty enables Liebel to carry on, business as usual, despite his long history of animal abuse and neglect.