Notorious Abuser’s Efforts to Possess Elephant in Florida Prompt PETA Action

Motion in Support of Captive-Wildlife Permit Denial Points to Hugo Liebel's Shady History of Skirting Inspections

For Immediate Release:
December 8, 2017

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Davenport, Fla. – Notorious elephant exhibitor Hugo Liebel is embroiled in a legal battle with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to be allowed to possess Nosey the elephant in his home state of Florida, and PETA is seeking to weigh in supporting the FWC, which denied Liebel’s captive-wildlife permit in June. He appealed the denial, and the case is pending—which is why PETA has prepared documentation outlining his chronic failure to provide itinerary information and is moving to present the damning information before the Division of Administrative Hearings.

“Hugo Liebel has racked up a rap sheet of animal-welfare citations a mile long,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “PETA supports the authorities in saying enough is enough and stands ready to help throw the book at this reprehensible animal exploiter.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that Nosey was also seized from Liebel’s possession and temporarily moved to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee after officials in Lawrence County, Alabama, found her tightly chained, forced to stand in her own waste, and without proper shelter. A custody hearing in Alabama is set for next week. Earlier this month, PETA and several individual plaintiffs sent an official notice of their intent to sue on behalf of Nosey unless Liebel agrees to relinquish her to an accredited sanctuary. And earlier this week, Polk County Code Enforcement officials notified Liebel that he is not authorized to possess exotic animals at his Florida property.

Liebel’s history includes nearly 200 citations for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act. 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