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Circus Smacked With Nearly 3 Dozen Charges

Written by Jennifer O'Connor | January 18, 2012
Courtesy of USDA

Over the years, the Liebel Family Circus has tried to evade scrutiny by operating under a variety of different names, but owner Hugo Liebel’s deplorable treatment of animals continues to catch up with him. Having already been fined nearly $3,000 for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, Liebel has now been charged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with 33 new violations, including keeping an elephant named Nosey chained so tightly by two legs that she could barely move and allowing manure to accumulate in her feet, potentially exposing her to serious infections. Other violations charged include leaving a chained monkey on a pony’s back unattended for an hour.

PETA has been filing complaints against the circus since a whistleblower contacted us in 2004 to let us know that he had been knocked off his feet by Nosey. Liebel has repeatedly failed to provide Nosey with adequate veterinary care for a chronic skin ailment and her overgrown footpads. (Foot ailments are the leading cause of death in captive elephants.) We’ve filed more than a dozen complaints since 2009 about Nosey and the other animals traveling with Liebel, including several that were filed just prior to the USDA inspections that resulted in some of the charges.

USDA charges and fines are always welcome, but they won’t necessarily put circuses using animals out of business. It is up to the public to put an end to the abuse by refusing to buy tickets.

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  • Lorraine O'Connor says:

    Do the people who attend this kind of “family entertainment” (and what a misnomer that title says about the circus!) and of course, do it because they believe their children will enjoy the so-called “pageantry” blah blah blah and the animals they see? — Do the adults/parents even know what a pathetic, sad farce it is to watch WILD animals “performing” tricks when WE know these poor creatures have absolutely NO idea of why they are being so abused??? (And unlike our own pampered domestic pets, the wild animals in circus’ have no concept of humans’ idea to “teach” them tricks they can’t possibly comprehend? It’s truly a shame that the *law* takes these abuses of wild animals as “entertainment” as casually (almost indifferently, I believe!) as it appears to be. The punishment for circus owners doesn’t seem to fit the crime, does it?? If I had my way, the elephants, tigers and ALL abused wild animals living a hellish life with a *circus* would be taken away from the owners and placed in a safe sanctuary…..but life is definitely NOT fair to innocent animals, is it?

  • Court Hruska says:

    thanks for helping animals