Fate of Nosey the elephant now in hands of Alabama judge, while owners face new criminal charges

A judge is now deciding whether an elephant will be returned to its controversial circus owner or remain free in a U.S. wildlife preserve.

For now, Nosey the elephant will remain at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. And separately, her owners are now facing animal cruelty charges, according to local media.

After more than 10 hours of testimony Friday, District Court Judge Angela Terry of the Lawrence County reserved her decision in the high-profile animal rights custody case.

The trial judge heard arguments Friday surrounding the beleaguered elephant, which was seized back in November from a Florida-based circus.

Its patriarch, Hugo Liebel, has always denied allegations of abusing Nosey.

“On November 9th, our elephant was stolen from us. A rural Alabama judge granted custody to a rural county animal control department without solid reason, and who had absolutely no elephant or large exotic animal experience. They stole her from us, a family who was completely licensed and insured to exhibit and possess an elephant,” the outfit posted on Facebook soon after the seizure.

And the circus has tried to mount a social media campaign.

But Nosey has a huge support network.

Complaints from animal lovers and groups such as PETA, have been filed for years to authorities to remove Nosey from his care. Allegations include mistreatment, chaining, improper access to food and water. Celebrities too have jumped to Nosey’s defence.

PETA has been lobbying for Nosey’s freedom. PETA handout

And Liebel has been cited by federal officials over the years for infractions around Nosey’s care.

And now, there’s are local media reports that the Liebel and his wife have been arrested.

One thing is certain. The battle for Nosey is far from over.


Main photo The Elephant Sanctuary/Twitter


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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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