Lawrence County officials are now in possession of three miniature horses and an African elephant after District Judge Angela Terry ordered Thursday night that they be seized from a traveling circus until authorities can investigate allegations that the animals are neglected.

The small family circus stopped on Alabama 157 near Lawrence County Recycling to repair their vehicle. The trailer it towed carried three miniature horses and Nosey, a 35-year-old female African elephant that has become the center of an animal welfare campaign.

Lawrence County animal control Kimberly Carpenter told the court she had received multiple calls from people concerned that the animals were sick, neglected, and possibly living in their own feces.

Two animal experts were called as witness by the state to evaluate photos of Nosey and give their opinions on her condition. Both an animal behaviorist from Texas and a zoological veterinarian from Colorado said the pictures suggest the elephant is unhealthy and possibly stressed. The veterinarian said he has been asked to evaluate the health of Nosey three other times.

The husband and wife circus owners claim the animal is part of their family and that any allegations of abuse or neglect are false. The family says their entire livelihood is based on the animals.

Their attorney, Allen Stoner, believes it is a battle of ideologies.

“Let's face it, some people are fundamentally opposed to animals to bring in captivity,” Stoner said. “Their long terms goal is to have the animal put into a sanctuary.”

Representing the state, attorney Callie Waldrep said the judge's ruling will buy enough time to get the animals medically evaluated.

“My prime concern is the welfare of the elephant,” said attorney Callie Waldrep. “The outcome will give us time to see what kind of shape the animal is in.”

The full version of this story will be in next week's issue.

(7) comments


Nosey has suffered her entire life at the hands of her owner Liebel. He has used her in the circus and she gave rides on her back With huge amounts of weight which caused her to have horrible back problems and leg issues, Liebel has had over 200 citations against him for abuse and neglect. Jamming her into a very small trailer and moving her around the country she can't even lift her head in that extremely small trailer . Because of the 30 years of abuse she is crippled with arthritis and has become an endangerment to the public , anyone that rides her is put in danger of being injured or killed. These animals can spread disease's out in the public and should never be allowed out in cities and towns this way . WHY ! Are we not being protected by the USDA and the courts ? Also why isn't anyone considering the health and well being of this elephant it seems no one cares about her. She belongs with other like animals in a sanctuary where she can be free after a lifetime of abuse and torment ! Angela G


Isn't anyone considering the health and welfare of Nosey. She has suffered 30 years of performing in the circus and had to endure giving rides on her back which is painful and now caused her horrible arthritis and leg problems she is a detriment to the public if she falls she can injure someone severely or kill them why isn't the USDA and the courts protecting this elephant and protecting the public ? Send her to a sanctuary now let her live the few years she has left in some sort of peace and true care


Thank you so very much for reporting on Nosey. Nosey has been abused for over 30 years. Her health has been deteriorating rapidly due to poor nutrition and physical abuse in addition to not being with others of her species, which is an innate need of female elephants! Again, thank you so very much.


Need to do what is right for Nosey the elephant and retire her to a sanctuary. Reading the stories and she has suffered long enough.


Thanks to the locals, law enforcement, animal control officer and judge for helping Nosey and getting her to an wonderful sanctuary for care and evaluation.You all rock!

Adrienne Possenti

The Mouton Advertiser Staff ... do you realize what incredible hero's you all are? You did what no one else anywhere was willing to do ... you responded to the call for help to investigate the situation on Nosey the elephant ... the result of your work brought freedom to an exotic animal that existed in an abusive prison for more than 30 years. You were chosen for divine intervention. What a wonderful privilege to work for
God's creations.


So we thought it was bad enough that Nosey was stuffed into that nasty trailer but he also had the 4 ponies in there too. That nasty little troll is a real piece of work, isn't he? They're his livelihood? He can't afford to take care of them and apparently hasn't for quite some time so that argument doesn't cut it. Nosey has suffered enough with this family and it's time she gets some peace and freedom.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.