Judge gives Lawrence County custody of Nosey the elephant

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. - An African elephant at the center of animal cruelty charges will now remain in a Tennessee sanctuary, following the ruling of Lawrence County District Judge Angela Terry.

Monday, Judge Terry gave custody of Nosey the elephant to Lawrence County, and animal control officer Kimberly Carpenter says Nosey will remain at the Hohenwald sanctuary. Carpenter tells WHNT News 19 that the county does not have the means or facilities to care for Nosey.

Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Callie Waldrep will be in touch with the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary and they will draw up custody forms for the county to sign Nosey over to the sanctuary.

Nosey made headlines in November after she was taken to the sanctuary and out of the care of the Great American Family Circus from Orlando following concerns of mistreatment.

In December, the small family circus' owner, Hugo Liebel, and his wife were arrested on animal cruelty charges, not long after he denied the animal cruelty allegations to WHNT News 19.

Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews, the Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement for PETA released the following statement on the judge's ruling:

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. 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.