15 Days Left to Save Nosey the Abused Elephant

Nosey the Elephant has been abused and neglected by Hugo “Tommy” Liebel, who owns and exhibits her and rents her out to circuses. Readers may be familiar with Nosey’s plight from my previous post about her, “Sick, Abused Elephant Set to Perform in UniverSoul Circus.” Please check out that article for details about poor Nosey’s abuse and neglect.

The Care2 community rallied to Nosey’s defense, with an inspiring 28,500 of you — in less than two days! — signing a petition asking UniverSoul Circus to give Nosey a break and stop doing business with Liebel. Some celebrities joined in with their own letters. But UniverSoul Circus went ahead and used Nosey in their act.

As long as Nosey is with Liebel, he will continue renting her out to traveling circuses. Circus elephants’ lives are generally miserable, even when they aren’t facing extra abuse from their owners:

It’s time to change tack and work to take Nosey away from Liebel forever, and rescue his two monkeys at the same time. So let’s look at the situation from a legal standpoint and see how to use the law to save this suffering 30-something pachyderm.

The Animal Welfare Act

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is the only federal law that protects animals used for exhibition. Frankly it doesn’t require much, just the basics of humane care for animals. If someone is in violation, something really ugly is going on.

The agency that enforces the AWA is the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), specifically its Animals and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Neither the USDA as a whole nor APHIS specifically is known for being a particularly great advocate for animals. In this case, it took them an eternity, but the bureaucratic machinery is slowly turning towards helping Nosey and the monkeys and punishing Liebel.

APHIS Inspections Reveal Liebel’s Scumbagness

As part of its duties under the AWA, APHIS occasionally makes unannounced inspections of animal exhibitors to look for legal violations. APHIS inspected Liebel’s little menagerie 14 times beginning in 2007, and it found willful AWA violations every single time — 33 in total.

What did APHIS do about this consistent and continuing cruelty? It “advised” Liebel of its “concerns.” That doesn’t rise to the level of even a slap on the wrist. It took four years for APHIS to do something that could actually have real consequences.

APHIS’s Formal Complaint to the USDA

At the end of 2011 APHIS filed a formal complaint with the USDA describing Liebel’s many violations of the AWA and they finally asked the USDA to take away his AWA license. Without that license he cannot legally exhibit animals. APHIS also asked the USDA to order Liebel to stop violating the AWA and to pay civil penalties.

That complaint was filed with the USDA on December 7, 2011. The USDA still hasn’t ruled on it. But over a year later, it has gotten around to scheduling a hearing, which is currently set for March 26th in Florida. The lawyer arguing against Liebel is Colleen A. Carroll, an attorney for the federal government.

Let’s give Carroll some encouragement and some ammo. Sign this petition to let her know that we are behind her and to ask her to press for the most severe penalties available to punish Liebel and protect animals from him: the largest fine possible and losing his license to exhibit animals.


Related Stories:

URGENT: Sick, Abused Elephant Set to Perform in Universoul Circus

Arkansas National Guard Cancels Circus Accused of 33 Animal Violations

Elephants Go First: LA Takes Steps to Stop Circus Cruelty


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barb p.
Past Member 11 months ago

here is an email, they just refuse to admit

Thank you for your e-mail. I do not know how I have come to be identified as a person authorized to confiscate animals or revoke licenses on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). I am not so authorized. I have no enforcement authority under the Animal Welfare Act. I am a trial attorney in the USDA's Office of General Counsel. I represent the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in those administrative enforcement proceedings to which I am assigned.
Best regards,
Colleen Carroll

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

sharon wardle
sharon wardleabout a year ago



More Details on the Action for Nosey Now Group page on Facebook


Dawn Mason
Dawn Mason2 years ago

Let Nosey live in a Sanctuary!!

Angela R.
Angela R.2 years ago

I just wanted to say that I saw Nosey at a festival in northern Michigan. I did not see anything that would say that this animal is abused. I saw the vet come in to check the animal and give them the okay for the animal to perform for the festival. I saw his younger daughter handle the animal and the Elephant seemed as happy as it could. Granted it isn't the wild where it belongs it was treated well. IDK I can believe what my eyes saw or I can people what activist want me to believe.... I think I will believe my own eyes.

Marilyn Ashman
Marilyn A.2 years ago

What the Hell is the matter with the United States Government , to allow this no good for nothing Cruel Stubborn Jackass ( Hugo Liebel ) to continue to Abuse this Poor Elephant !!!??. This goes for all roadside zoos as well !!!. There should be a Huge Rally , by people from all over the country side to let it be known that roadside zoos are not going to be tolerated any longer !!. People have a voice and they should use it !!!!. This should be going on in the case of all Animal Abuse , Vivisection is only one of the reasons to use your voice amongst other legally allowed Animal Abuse . Some city zoos are doing the same thing , by not allowing their Elephants to retire to a sanctuary when they cannot carry on any more. Animals get Depressed , Arthritic , and don't have the room to roam , like they would in a sanctuary. Canned Hunting is another one that should be Outlawed !!!! . Sometimes I wonder if all of these Petitions are being read !. So let's continue Signing and Voicing Loud and Clear , by saying we've had enough !!.

Pamela Brown
Pamela Brown2 years ago

This is such an awful story in this day and age that we ALLOW such a person to have and keep such an animal. This must be STOPPED NOW to give this beautiful creature some dignity in her life.

Diane L.
Diane L.2 years ago

Ggma, maybe you should try reading the date of the article and the title? It's dated last March and says "15 days left"..........that should give you a hint that it's way past the deadline. Why would you assume that just because an article is still available for viewing and there is a link to a petition, that it is still open and even a current topic? Care2 doesn't delete OLD stuff, they assume readers actually read the dates on them.

GGma Sheila D.
GGmaSheila D.2 years ago

Getting a bit tired of finding petitions that are closed - this needs to be added to these stories.

charlotte nichols

Save nosey the elephant and other animals from this cruel act

Nina Giordano
Nina Giordano2 years ago

I am feeling enraged by all the cruelty in this world.