Nosey the elephant is getting the fairy tale ending she so rightfully deserves.
Last week, Lawrence County District Court Judge Terry announced that Nosey the elephant would not be returned to those who left her chained and swayed back and forth in her own waste with the urinary tract, skin, and roundworm infection as well as osteoarthritis and signs of dehydration and malnutrition.
Our campaign for Nosey started in 2004 when a whistleblower reported that she was regularly ab.us.ed with a bullhook and electric prods.
Over the years, we’ve persuaded venues not to hold shows with the suffering elephant, convinced authorities to stop Hugo Liebel’s the elephant act, worked with elephant experts, members of Congress, and get the support of celebrities who support her release to a recognized reserve where her needs could be properly met.
We thank the local government that initiated this event and everyone who worked to keep Nosey away from Liebel – the man who had used chains and threats to force her to ride horses for decades.
The road to justice was a long one
Before Nosey, Liebel had been cited by the United States Department of Agriculture for nearly 200 animal welfare violations. Most of these quotes relate to his ab.us.e of Nosey, including repeatedly chaining her so tight she could barely move and refusing her much-needed veterinary care. This atrocity has been going on for decades.
On November 8, Lawrence County District Court Judge Angela Terry issued a forfeiture order after Animal Control Officer Kimberly Carpenter – who could be described as Nosey’s guardian angel – found the animal locked in a trailer at a truck repair shop where the Liebels were reportedly located they fixed the brakes.
She was standing in a pile of manure and had no proper shelter. Her trailer is limited to being so small that Nosy can’t walk or turn around.
On November 9, Judge Angela Terry held a hearing to determine whether the seizure should stay in place. After the hearing, she ordered animal control to “arrange the necessary accommodation and care” for Nosey. That night, she was transferred to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.
At the sanctuary, Nosey has received the care and protection she deserves all along. When she arrived, staff were waiting for her with welcome gifts: fresh produce, bamboo, and banana leaves.
The veterinary and husbandry teams carefully watched her throughout the night and reported that Nosey remained calm and appeared to enjoy her new surroundings at the lush green refuge. The Elephant Sanctuary has continued to provide updates about Nosey on its website and through its Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
On December 15, a trial was held to determine whether the seizure should be made permanent. Key testimony came from expert witness Lydia Young, a veterinarian at the Elephant Sanctuary. She testified that Nosey had arrived at the reserve with signs of dehydration and that she had been starving.
She also had multiple infections. Nosey suffered from a painful urinary tract infection, roundworm infection(from ingesting fecal matter), and chronic bacterial infection caused by her severely dry, cracked, and overgrown skin. She was stiff and sore, and her left hind leg was swollen.
The sanctuary was able to conduct an X-ray of her leg, which confirmed that she was suffering from osteoarthritis. According to Dr. Young, Nosey requires daily veterinary care for her conditions. Her skin will take months or years to improve, and osteoarthritis is an incurable chronic disease that requires pain management and species-appropriate exercise.
Although the trial lasted more than 10 hours, the judge did not issue a verdict on the case at that time.
Another victory was achieved the next day when Liebel and his wife Franciszka were arrested and charged with cruelty to animals in relation to their treatment of Nosey.
We applaud the local government, including ACO Carpenter and Assistant District Attorney Callie Waldrep, for standing up to the cruelty and making the best case possible for this elephant. At the Elephant Sanctuary, she will continue to receive round-the-clock veterinary care. Although Liebel’s attorney has threatened to appeal, we will continue to push to keep Nosey right where she is.