Skip to Main Content

Update: Animal Trainer Who Starved Elephant Denied Another Exhibitor License

Written by Alisa Mullins | April 17, 2014
Photo: Elephant Sanctuary

Update: We just found out that a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administrative law judge has upheld the agency’s decision to reject abusive animal trainer Lance Ramos’ request for a new exhibitor’s license. The administrative law judge ruled that the USDA had good cause to revoke Ramos’ license and that the revocation is permanent. Administrative charges filed by the USDA against Ramos in September 2013 for numerous serious violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act are still pending.

Originally posted October 31, 2013:

The wheels of justice turn slowly, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has finally charged disgraced circus supplier Lance Ramos with violating the Animal Welfare Act five years after it confiscated a starving elephant named Ned from him.

The charges against Ramos include failing to provide Ned, who was “visibly-emaciated and in compromised health,” with adequate veterinary care, even after being advised that Ned was underweight and needed veterinary monitoring. According to the complaint, Ramos let Ned waste away for at least nine months while failing to have diagnostic tests conducted to determine the cause of his condition.

Ned was ultimately confiscated in 2008 and taken to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee after PETA filed a complaint with the USDA and provided photos of the severely emaciated elephant. Carol Buckley, the founder and director of The Elephant Sanctuary, rated his health a two on a scale of one to 10 and described him as a “bag of bones.” Sadly, Ned was so debilitated that despite a nutritious diet of fresh vegetables and expert care at the hands of Elephant Sanctuary staff, he died six months later. The USDA permanently revoked Ramos’ exhibitor’s license in 2009.

In addition to the charges related to Ned, the USDA also charged Ramos with denying adequate veterinary care to a lame lion and tiger, failing to provide two capuchin monkeys with appropriate environmental enrichment, and illegally operating as a dealer after the revocation of his license, among other violations.

Ramos is also the subject of another USDA investigation following a PETA complaint regarding his illegal exhibition of tigers with the notorious Hawthorn Corporation last year at a Shrine circus performance without a license. In addition, following a PETA complaint based on a whistleblower tip that Ramos was unlawfully housing tigers at his Florida property, he was arrested earlier this year and faces criminal charges.

What You Can Do

Urge the USDA to show the Hawthorn Corporation that it’s not above the law by permanently revoking its license.

Commenting is closed.
  • Patty Shenker says:

    Poor Ned was supposed to go to PAWS Sanctuary where I had made a large donation to build his barn. Because of his very poor health, he was taken to the Elephant Sanctuary to get the care and love he needed before he could move on to California. I know Carol Buckley and her team did everything they could for Ned for which I am eternally grateful. So Ned never made it to PAWS & I, along with so many others, was heartbroken. The barn was built for another bull elephant in need but my heart just broke at the abuse & suffering Ned had to endure in his short life. Ramos is not the only one who violates laws & doesn’t take care of their animals; all these circus owners do! Please don’t support circuses or other entertainment using wild animals; they belong in the wild!

  • gee says:

    IMO USDA was tardy in its response.Had this elephant been helped sooner he/she might have lived a long life in a sanctuary.

  • Jane Hintz says:

    Animal cruelty is a felony!!! He should get more than that for what he did to this elephant!!!!!!

  • Judy says:

    Is that all the justice system can do to him. He should be jailed for a number of years. More has to be done to people who abuse animals.

  • kathleen loewenberg says:

    Why does it take so long to relieve the obvious pain and suffering this poor Elephant had to endure …the USDA has to show a better performance in it’s duties than this. How can we dictate to other Nations regarding the same abuse to their creatures, when our own Nation shows such sluggish and casual response, to the animals languishing in the hands of obvious criminals inside the U.S. domain. PETA did all the leg-work and reporting on this….just how long does it take for the stroke of a pen, from the USDA, to FOLLOW????????

  • jim duke says:

    Ramos–you are a piece of rubbish–arrogant too-you think your crime will be forgotten and you can get another animal to abuse??? Think again scum bag.

  • Patricia says:

    How many more innocent animals need to suffer at the hands of this beast before justice is permanently served? Please consider the innocent.

  • KR says:

    Of course USDA should revoke the license of the Hawthorne Corporation – my question is why has it not already been revoked? If they co-hosted a show with a man who had no exhibitor’s license – wouldn’t that make the HC accessory to noncompliance with a contract, regulations, law or something relative. Those that seek dominance and control are quite abundant in the animal entertainment business, farming and meat industries. They don’t just stop their abusive behavior because a license is revoked. They need to be watched and watched well.

  • Denise says:

    This man deserves to go behind bars..he is the animal here!!

  • Nara says:

    não deveria nem ser preciso colher comentários e assinaturas, ja deveria ir direto para cadeia.

  • Teresa says:

    Now they need to revoke Hugo Liebel’s license. Poor Nosey has suffered far too long!

  • al garza says:

    Ramos deserves the “book” thrown at him as a serial law breaker that
    intentionally causing the death of Ned, one of many elephants in captivity suffering the same fate!! The Federal Government, USDA and the Obama Administration should finally put their feet down and confront widespread animal abuse in the US and join the world`s compassionate nations in protecting those animals in most need of a savior! It is unconscionable that we lag in such a serious, moral issue, more often than not due to lobbying pressu
    re and funding!!

  • Please Please Please donot let these people and corporations (Lance Ramos and Hawthorm Corp) harm, abuse, starve, anymore, for all animals I’m asking you to save them from these inhumane conditions.

  • Gail says:

    I’m saddened by the story, day after day, week after week, the months turn into years, it’s a living hell for those animals in the charge of such cruel people. It most certainly needs a much more serious punishment. It should never be overlooked, it’s just not right.

  • zarina alex monerief says:

    It is great news and hoping will be followed with more good news on behalf of Killings of Baby Seals and Whales We will support PETA for the cause they are fighting for…

  • EYG says:

    This maggot should be in prison. And the USDA should not have to rely on PETA to do their jobs for them. A giant tax payer funded USDA budget vs. non-profit PETA and look who is more effective. This poor elephant, it breaks my heart.

  • Peggy says:

    This man should be given major jail time for his actions.

  • Dana says:

    Please do your job by revoking the license of Hawthorn Corp they have got away with wrong doing long enough!