Tell Fair Not To Allow Rides On Mistreated Elephant

Target: Jamie Egler, Board President of Williams County Fair

Goal: Cancel a visit from an infamous trainer and his mistreated elephant

The Williams County Fair in Ohio has recently announced that it has teamed up with Hugo “Tommy” Liebel to bring elephant rides to the festival. Liebel’s records show evidence of decades of animal cruelty, yet Liebel was chosen in spite of possible alternative trainers. The move shows a blatant disregard for the well-being of animals showcased at the fair.

Circus trainer Tommy Liebel has over 50 individual charges or citations relating to cruelty and mistreatment of animals. The charges go back as far as 1993, twenty years ago. Just this March, he was ordered to pay $7,500 in a settlement for charges pressed by the USDA.

On several occasions, Liebel was cited for not providing veterinary care to his animals. There have also been many citations for cramped and unsafe enclosures, filthy living quarters,  and mishandling of rabbits, dogs, cattle, monkeys, elephants, ponies, and other creatures. There have been charges laid for regular failure to comply with these citations.

Since 2007, Liebel’s elephant Nosey has had a skin condition where dry and dead skin would flake from her nose and body. Liebel disregarded numerous orders to attend to the chronic condition, and her skin is now hardened and dry to the touch. The food provided to the elephant was insufficient and she experienced noticeable weight loss. The dietary concerns had still not been addressed a year later, and she lost much more weight in that time.

There are several trainers in America with clean records for treatment of their animals, and therefore many more sensible alternatives. It is unnecessary and unsympathetic to choose a handler with such a shady record.

Handlers that mistreat creatures within their care should not be provided with business opportunities. The most effective handlers keep a kind and loving relationship with their animals. Tell the Williams County Fair to show compassion to Nosey by cancelling the elephant ride.


Dear Jamie Egler, Board President of Williams County Fair,

It was recently announced that Hugo “Tommy” Liebel has been hired to give rides on Nosey the elephant at the Williams County Fair. Mr. Leibel has a decades-long record of cruelty to animals, including failure to provide veterinary care, and failure to provide clean and safe enclosures. Moreover, there have been several more charges and citations due to failure to comply with previous animal welfare orders.

Nosey the elephant suffers from a chronic skin condition that has gone improperly treated since 2007. Leibel has disregarded several veterinary recommendations to treat the condition. In 2010, Nosey was found to have lost weight, and Leibel was ordered to have a veterinarian assess the elephant’s dietary needs. A year later, the weight loss persisted and there was still no record of a veterinary examination.

To allow rides on Nosey could endanger her well-being. To employ a handler who shows such blatant disregard for animals in his care is socially irresponsible. I demand that you cancel the elephant ride at the Williams County Fair.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: sarahemcc via Creative Commons

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