Former Abuser of Nosey Legally Barred from Animal Exploitation
The final chapter in the saga of Nosey the elephant has come to a long-awaited close. Hugo Liebel, the owner of the Great American Family Circus and former “owner” of Nosey, has been legally barred from exhibiting animals ever again.
For about a decade, we have been following the tragic plight of Nosey. After witnessing the slaughter of her own family, she was stolen from her home in Zimbabwe in 1984. In 1988, Nosey was sold to Liebel and spent nearly 29 years performing in his circus, where she was forced to give rides, perform degrading tricks, and live in squalor. She was beaten with bullhooks, her body was often encircled with tight chains, and she suffered a number of long-term medical conditions including arthritis and a skin condition.
The cruelty Nosey endured did not go unnoticed. Over the years, Liebel racked up over 200 violations from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Thousands of our supporters wrote to the USDA, demanding Nosey’s release from these blatantly torturous conditions. It was only in 2017, when the circus was at a circus stop, when Nosey was confiscated and sent to the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary.
Despite Liebel’s persistent attempts to get Nosey back, a 2018 court verdict declared that Nosey was no longer the “property” of Liebel and his traveling circus. Nosey remains at the sanctuary in permanent retirement.
In a rare instance of justice served, a USDA judge recently revoked Liebel’s Animal Welfare Act license so he can no longer buy, exhibit, transport, or sell any animal.
Nosey will remain at the sanctuary for the rest of her days, able to spend her time as she chooses, on grass and among trees–the very least that every elephant deserves. Thankfully, no other animals will fall prey to Liebel’s cruelty and exploitation in the future.