Animal activists were on the edges of their seats awaiting the court decision regarding the custody of Nosey the elephant, and after the court made their ruling, there is much reason for celebration — Nosey will remain at her sanctuary home!

Nosey suffered for decades at a roadside zoo in Orlando, Florida called the Great American Family Circus, where she had endured the weight of heavy shackles that prohibited her from moving on the concrete floor in her tiny enclosure. Under the threat of bull hooks and electronic prods, the African elephant was forced to give rides to endless lines of tourists. As if this were not enough, she also had many untreated infections and ailments, including a severely swollen leg caused by osteoarthritis.


This hellish tourist attraction had been cited nearly 200 times by the USDA, mostly for violations of animal welfare laws pertaining to their mistreatment of Nosey. With the support from activists, including celebrities, PETA was able to bring Nosey’s plight to the spotlight and urge authorities to release her to a reputable sanctuary.

Nosey’s fateful day arrived in November of last year, when she was transported to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Caretakers reported she adjusted very quickly to her new surroundings, taking an immediate liking to foraging for leaves, chomping on pumpkins, drinking from the automatic water fountain, and resting her achy joints on the heated barn floor. To add to the victorious decision, her previous handlers, Hugo and Franciszka Liebel, were arrested for animal cruelty charges.

It was uncertain whether Nosey would be given back to her abusers, but thankfully, Judge Angela Terry released custody of Nosey to Lawrence County, who will now turn pass it on to The Elephant Sanctuary.

“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,” Captive Animal Law Enforcement for PETA, Rachel Mathews, stated.“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.”


To stay posted on Nosey’s fast-moving progress at her new sanctuary home, visit The Elephant Sanctuary website or follow their Facebook page.

This long-awaited decision is an encouraging sign that life for animals in captivity, particularly elephants, is on its way to great improvement, and it is proof that public opinion and activism indeed have the power to cause change and affect public policy. We certainly hope that his victory is one more step towards a world where no animal will have to suffer in captivity for the sake of entertainment. This is a major breakthrough in animal welfare, so remember to share this fantastic news with your friends and family!

Lead Image Source: The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee/Facebook