Nosey the Elephant Finally Gets a Taste of Freedom!
At long last, Nosey the elephant has been confiscated from her abusive “owner,” Hugo Liebel. We applaud the Lawrence County, Alabama authorities for responding to overt animal cruelty and heeding the calls of concerned citizens. Nosey has been the poster elephant for traveling circus abuse and exploitation for years. However, suddenly last week, her life went from hell to heaven in little less than 48 hours, and Nosey is now tasting freedom at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee for the first time since her capture over thirty years ago!
While Liebel’s traveling circus was held over for a few days in Lawrence County for vehicular repairs, animal control officers were alerted to the distressing site where this beleaguered elephant and four miniature horses were on the side of Highway 157 near the city of Moulton. Upon further investigation by local officials, and a three hour hearing, a writ of seizure was ordered by the District Judge. In less than 24 hours, Nosey, who was found tightly chained, standing in her own waste, and without proper shelter, food or water, was confiscated and transported to the Elephant Sanctuary. The four ponies were also seized and taken to an undisclosed location, and are undoubtedly in better hands than Liebel’s.
Lawrence County officials, unknowingly, have been able to do for Nosey what the USDA has neglected to do all along, as it has repeatedly renewed Hugo Liebel’s license while ignoring the blatant abuse and neglect cited in over two hundred USDA animal welfare violations that are on record, going back as early as 1993.
Nosey was born in Zimbabwe in 1984, stolen from her family and her homeland, and shipped to America. She was transferred to Liebel’s “ownership” in 1998, and has been at the mercy of his exploitation and abuse until just a few days ago. A final custody hearing is pending, and the Liebel family will do whatever they can to get Nosey back to work, despite her crippling arthritis, musculoskeletal disease, and years of abuse.
The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee welcomed Nosey with fresh-cut produce, bamboo, and banana leaves. Nosey can now rest in spacious, peaceful and protected surroundings. She is foraging freely and calmly exploring her new environment. A team of skilled veterinarians, elephant experts, and loving caretakers are treating her with the expertise, kindness and respect that she deserves - and that is owed to her after her years enslaved to Liebel. Possibly for the first time in her life, it is about what Nosey needs, not what can be taken from her.
For the moment, Nosey’s case is in expert hands and no action is necessary. We will post an update should an effective action be called for.