Arkansas National Guard Cancels Circus Accused Of 33 Animal Violations

The Arkansas National Guard said Tuesday that it canceled four shows by a circus after the guard learned about alleged animal welfare violations from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The shows had been scheduled for Batesville, Crossett, Magnolia and Malvern from February 21 to February 25.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture alleged 33 violations of the Animal Welfare Act against the Florida-based Liebel Family Circus in December that include keeping an elephant named Nosey chained too tightly and allowing a spider monkey named Reggie to escape.

The USDA alleges circus owner Hugo Liebel misrepresented the identity of Nosey the elephant, sometimes calling her “Dumbo” or “Peanut”. The USDA also alleges Liebel lied about the beast’s age, claiming she was 15 when she is really 30 years old.

USDA attorneys have recommended a suspension or revocation of Liebel’s Animal Welfare Act license.

The circus owner denies the USDA’s claims in a 29-page item-by-item response. A hearing before a USDA administrative law judge has yet to be set.

Here’s how Liebel defended himself. From Associated Press:

“I am a good man and a good human being, and before I go to bed all of my animals will be fed, watered, cleaned and loved,” the 59-year-old Hungarian immigrant said.

PETA administrator Delcianna Winders said the group learned about the Liebel Family Circus’ planned Arkansas performances on Facebook.

“We’re constantly monitoring them,” Winders said. “We’re extremely concerned about Nosey the elephant.”

Arkansas National Guard spokesman Maj. Chris Heathscott said the guard discovered the allegations two working days before the performances, which were suspended and later canceled.


“The cancelation is very important and shows the National Guard Armory will not tolerate animal abuse and public endangerment, and shows members of the public there are alternative forms of entertainment that don’t involve exploitation of animals,” Winders said.

Kudos to the Arkansas National Guard for doing the right thing.

But do we really need circuses with their spectacles of wild animals being mistreated? Why not boycott them altogether? What do you think?

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Mary K.
Molly D.1 years ago

Boycott ! Just don't spend your hard earned money there. Get them where it hurts - their pocketbooks.

Filomena Correia
Filomena C.2 years ago

Thanks God!

carole fraser
carole Fraser2 years ago

Ban all circuses for good cruel ,evil ,vile people who run then animals being EXPLOYTED AND THEY HAVE A LIFE OF HELL.

Phyl M.
Bu M.2 years ago

Every circus has to STOP using any animal in their shows. There should be a law to ban animals performing anywhere.

Terry V.
Terry V.2 years ago


Carrie Anne Brown

glad they canceled thanks for sharing :)

Michelle R.
Michelle R.3 years ago

I've been reading about the concerns of Nosey for years now. This elephant has had a skin condition for years, untreated and is chained when not performing. Shame. Nosey needs to be confiscated and sent to a sanctuary. We, the United States, needs to BAN all animal act circuses. Kudos to the Arkansas National Guard. I'm impressed.

Bill K.
Bill K.3 years ago

hopefully all circus animal acts will soon be banned. but if the circus does come to your town write to news organizations, sponsors, and anyone else you can think of to get the word out before they arrive. it really does help keep circus ticket sales down and sometimes even results in the circus not being invited back.

LopLover R.
LopLover R.3 years ago

I'm very glad they got canceled and I hope that they lose their license. Wild animals do NOT belong in circuses. They don't belong in tiny cages where they can't do any of the actions that are natural to their species. They don't belong in situations where they are "trained" using torture and abuse to perform "tricks" that are not actions normal to them. Circus acts involving wild animals need to pass into history. There are plenty of things circuses can do for entertainment that don't involve animals. I'm not usually a big PETA fan, but kudos to them on this one!

Terri Hughes
Terri Hughes3 years ago

ALL animals should be ban from circuses. They suffer cruelty, abuse and inhumane treatment. Animals where NOT put on this earth for our entertainment. They need to be in there own habitat, where they can live the way animals SHOULD live, NOT in cages or tied up somewhere being abused. This needs to STOP, they have suffered ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!