Elephant’s Owner Hit With Animal-Welfare Citation in Nosey Case

Hugo Liebel's Failure to Provide Adequate Veterinary Care Goes Back Over Two Decades, Government Records Reveal

For Immediate Release:
November 20, 2017

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Cullman, Ala. – In a November 9 hearing to determine whether Lawrence County authorities could move forward with seizing the chronically neglected elephant Nosey, exhibitor Hugo Liebel introduced a piece of evidence that worked against him: a November 3, 2017, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ) report of an inspection from Cullman citing him yet again for failing to provide Nosey with adequate veterinary care.

The record reveals that a USDA veterinarian in Cullman found that Nosey had an accumulation of thickened dead skin over her forehead and back. This is caused by an inability to slough it off, such as by rubbing against trees, and places her at risk of developing painful infections. Liebel has racked up nearly 200 citations for violating the minimal standards of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA)—16 of these were related to Nosey’s skin condition, which the USDA first noted in March 1993.

“This newly revealed report confirms that Hugo Liebel either can’t or won’t provide this elephant with even the most basic care,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director Rachel Mathews. “PETA is working for the day when Nosey will never again be chained and retired permanently to a sanctuary that provides around-the-clock veterinary care and protection from all harm.”

Thanks to the court and the swift action of local animal control, Nosey is currently at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee as her custody case continues in the Lawrence County District Court.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that Liebel paid a fine in 2013 to settle nearly three dozen AWA violations, including repeatedly failing to treat Nosey’s skin condition. An independent veterinarian and elephant expert who reviewed 20 years’ worth of federal documents related to Nosey called her case “the worst, most prolonged, documented example of an uncorrected case of suffering and abuse in an elephant I have ever reviewed.”

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind