Save Nosey from Decades of Torture

  • By: Piper Hoffman
  • Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture

For decades Nosey the Elephant has suffered illegal abuse and neglect by her owner, Hugo "Tommy" Liebel, who rents her out to traveling circuses. According to government inspectors, his legal violations include:

In Nosey’s cage, “a portion of the metal wall…was detached, exposing a sharp metal edge that could injure the elephant.” 

“Nails protruding into” Nosey’s “enclosure.” Two years later similar violations remained.

Nosey has “a visibly poor [and painful] skin condition” that Liebel persistently ignores, illegally denying her necessary veterinary care. 

Nosey is chained up all the time unless she is performing. She has been “tethered by chains around [her] left front and right rear ankles that were so taut that they permitted little movement; the elephant was unable to lie down on her side, or to make any forward or backward movement, and could only move a few feet from side to side.” Sometimes Liebel ties Nosey up even tighter so she can’t even “stand comfortably.”

Nosey’s trailer “contained loose metal ceiling panels, exposed bolts and peeling, chipping and flaking interior paint.” It also “contained accumulations of equipment in close proximity to the elephant during transit.”

Liebel has “failed to store supplies of food in facilities which adequately protected such supplies against deterioration, molding, or contamination by vermin, and specifically an open trailer used for food storage was cluttered, dirty and had holes in the floor, there were open bags of feed, and evidence of” rodents and vermin."

In February 2010 Nosey “was observed to have lost weight.” Liebel did not consult a veterinarian. He has persistently ignored a veterinarian's instruction to weigh her. He has also neglected to follow up on a positive TB blood test, a finding so alarming that Maine will not let her into the state.

An “examination of the elephant’s feet revealed overgrowth of the soles, with trapped manure and leaves in flaps of the front feet and the right rear foot.”

It is time for the USDA to confiscate Nosey and turn her over to an appropriate rescue sanctuary, and to punish Liebel severely as befits someone who has broken the law for years to torture a helpless animal.

Please confiscate Nosey the Elephant from her law-breaking, abusive owner, Hugo "Tommy" Liebel, and allow her to retire to an appropriate wildlife sanctuary.

APHIS has logged several dozen Animal Welfare Act violations during inspections of Liebel's operation. In a recent settlement agreement the USDA fined him $7,500 and ordered him to start complying with the AWA. He has not and has said that he does not intend to comply with the law.

Please levy a substantial punishment against Liebel in proportion with the number and duration of his violations and their effect on Nosey, and put an end to her decades of torture. 

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