Nosey the elephant has been held in captivity, abused, and tormented for most of her life, forced to travel and perform in circuses across the U.S. But thanks to the tireless work of activists, celebrities, and animal rights organizations, Nosey has been moved to The Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee as her owners answer to the court for their cruelty.
The conditions Nosey has been held in are criminal. Since 1988, her keepers have been cited for more than 200 animal rights violations such as failing to provide adequate space, withholding food and repeatedly denying her veterinary care. Nosey has had to stand in her own excrement for hours, chained tightly, and been forced to travel in a cramped trailer with splintered wood and poor ventilation.
Her owners, Hugo and Franciszka Liebel, have now been arrested and face multiple charges of animal cruelty.
During an 11-hour bench trial on Friday, Dr. Lydia Young, a full time associate veterinarian at The Elephant Sanctuary, testified. She has seen Nosey every day since she arrived, and stated that “Nosey had the most severe buildup of dead skin of any elephant that I’ve ever observed.”
She went on to say that Nosey’s skin condition and bacterial infections had likely been present for months or years. Without treatment, they would become life-threatening. Nosey also had a urinary tract infection and progressive musculoskeletal disease that went untreated.
Elephants are exceedingly intelligent, social creatures who suffer greatly in captivity. That’s why more and more regions are banning the use of elephants for entertainment. Sadly, there are many other stories like Nosey’s.
This arrest and trial is a huge win for animal advocates. As her captors await sentencing, Nosey is enjoying proper care at the largest sanctuary for African and Asian elephants in America (check out a live elephant cam), roaming free with other elephants for the first time in decades.