Feds Move to Terminate Elephant Abuser’s License

Hugo Liebel’s Impending License Loss Follows PETA Action, Cruelty Charges, and Seizure of Nosey, the Famous, Long-Suffering Elephant

For Immediate Release:
August 1, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Davenport, Fla.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, PETA has just learned that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has informed notorious elephant exhibitor Hugo Liebel of its intent to initiate proceedings to terminate his federal exhibitor’s license, the piece of paper that allowed him to cart Nosey, a lame elephant, from town to town in a substandard trailer.

The notification follows requests from PETA noting the numerous ways in which Liebel is unfit to hold a license. Liebel is currently facing cruelty-to-animals charges related to his neglect and mistreatment of Nosey, who was seized by Lawrence County, Alabama, authorities in November and placed at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. There, veterinarians found that she was suffering from arthritis, intestinal parasites, a urinary tract infection, and a multidrug-resistant skin infection—ailments that are all linked to a lack of care during her life on the road. In January, following a 10-hour hearing, the Lawrence County District Court issued an order that allowed Nosey to remain at the sanctuary with the county animal control officer’s permission. Liebel’s appeal is pending.

“After decades of being forced to give rides at county fairs even as she stumbled, this ailing elephant is finally facing a permanent end to such abuse,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “PETA looks forward to seeing Nosey remain in expert hands at the sanctuary, with lush habitat to roam, trees to rub against, and a pond to wallow in.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that Liebel has given false statements to government agencies, including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which denied renewal of his permit to possess Nosey in his home state on those grounds. Polk County Code Enforcement has also informed Liebel that he’s not allowed to possess exotic animals at his residence and may not take Nosey back there.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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