A Lawrence County judge ordered Monday that custody of a seized circus elephant be given to the county's animal control officer.
After studying over 40 pages of notes from two separate hearings, District Judge Angela Terry electronically filed the following ruling:
"The custody of the elephant, more specifically described as "Nosey" which was seized by the animal control officer of Lawrence County, Alabama on November 8, 2017 shall be vested in said animal control officer, Kimberly Carpenter, in her official capacity. The animal control officer shall make decisions as to the continuing placement and treatment for the elephant."
Nosey, a 35-year old female African elephant, was seized by county authorities in November due to suspected abuse at the hands of her owner and traveling showman, Hugo Liebel.
Nosey was transported to The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee where she will remain.
"I'm overjoyed to think Nosey will be able to spend the rest of her days in true sanctuary," said Assistant District Attorney Callie Waldrep, who represented the county in the case. "It's been a uphill climb that I'm sure isn't over, but for the moment we will enjoy this mountaintop. And, should they appeal, we will continue to fight for the same result. It is our plan for Nosey to remain at the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary. There is no other place around that's even comparable to TES. They are willing and able to continue to provide Nosey with the daily care she so desperately needs."
The judge's ruling is seen as a victory for animal welfare activists who say they have been disturbedby Nosey's living conditions for years.
"Compassionate people the world over can breathe a sigh of relief with today's ruling that Nosey the elephant will not return to the people who left her chained and swaying back and forth in her own waste with urinary tract, skin, and roundworm infections as well as painful osteoarthritis and signs of dehydration and malnutrition," said PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews in a press release. "PETA thanks local authorities for initiating this course of events and everyone who worked to keep Nosey away from the man who used chains and intimidation in order to force her to give rides for decades. As she finally experiences the benefits of a sanctuary, beleaguered Hugo Liebel is facing cruelty charges and the realization that there's no room for animal abusers in a civilized society."
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