The owner of an elephant being held in Tennessee while he deals with animal cruelty charges in Lawrence County should have his federal license stripped, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said Monday.
PETA wrote to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Monday and said Hugo Liebel wasn't fit to keep his Animal Welfare Act license because of past citations and misleading statements he has made in the past.
"Please exercise your discretion to terminate his license immediately and ensure that Nosey is not returned to his neglectful circus," Rachel Mathews, associate director for PETA's Captive Animal Law Enforcement, wrote in the letter to the USDA.
Nosey was taken from Liebel in November after the vehicle carrying her broke down in Lawrence County. Animal control officers seized the elephant, claiming she showed signs of neglect.
Lawrence County authorities charged Liebel and his wife with animal cruelty in December.
Nosey has been staying at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn.
The season of holiday enrichment is upon us—and as always, The Sanctuary’s dedicated Caregivers went above and beyond to make the elephants’ habitats festive, including creating a snowman out of a white pumpkin for #Nosey. Read more: https://t.co/8rylygYnkL pic.twitter.com/fIw4hC4LjB
— Elephant Sanctuary (@ELEPHANTSdotcom) December 28, 2017
Liebel's AWA license expires Jan. 30, according to PETA.
He is scheduled to appear in a Lawrence County courtroom Feb. 8, according to court records.