Actress Carol Burnett pens letter about elephant seized in Lawrence County

Published: Nov. 16, 2017 at 11:23 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2017 at 9:33 AM CST
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(Source: Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary)
(Source: Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary)
(Source: Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary)
(Source: Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary)
(Source: Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary)
(Source: Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary)

LAWRENCE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Actress Carol Burnett sent a letter to the Lawrence County Commission regarding the case of Nosey the elephant as animal activists continue to fight for the animal to remain in a special sanctuary.

According to PETA, Nosey has been "beaten with a bullhook, kept all alone in chains and in a dark and cramped trailer, and forced to perform tricks and give rides to tourists."

READ MORE: Nosey the elephant headed to sanctuary in TN as custody battle heats up

Last week, Lawrence County authorities seized the elephant from her owner, Hugo Liebel, and she was transported to an accredited sanctuary in Tennessee where PETA hopes she'll remain once the legal battle with her owner is resolved.

The sanctuary, located in Hohenwald, Tennessee, has shared pictures of Nosey exploring the sanctuary.

Burnett shot a video for PETA highlighting Nosey's story, but before it could be released, "the elephant was found neglected in Alabama without shelter, hay, or water," the organization said.

PETA says they've been trying to help Nosey for years, and it was in Moulton where she was taken from Liebel. He denies all allegations of mistreatment.

Lawrence County officials said multiple calls from concerned citizens about a traveling circus elephant raised questions about the animal's health and care.

Nosey is part of a family-owned act out of Florida. Her owner says they recently performed in Cullman and stopped in Moulton to have the brakes on one of their trucks fixed when they were notified by law enforcement that four of their ponies were being seized.

Custody for Nosey is also being sought.

Several issues were raised by Lawrence County officials regarding the elephant, including the small space she is transported in.

Liebel said he loves Nosey like family and has been bullied for years by animal rights activists who want to steal his elephant.

"I got her when she was a little kid. You take her away from me, you broke two hearts- me, my family," he said.

More than 14,000 people fighting for Nosey have signed a petition to stop the automatic renewal of Liebel's USDA license for 2018.

Burnett's letter to Lawrence County commissioners states:

Dear Lawrence County Commissioners,

I was so thrilled to hear from my friends at PETA that Nosey has been transported to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

Nosey's tragic story very recently compelled me to record a PSA for PETA urging for her retirement and encouraging kind people everywhere to act in her behalf to give her the chance of living a happy life in a sanctuary. She has been on the road nearly since her infancy. She has worked, day in and day out, carrying people on her back and performing difficult tricks under the threat of a bullhook. Her "home" on the road has been a dark, cramped trailer or the end of a chain. She deserves so much more—as do all other elephants.

I recorded this PSA mere weeks ago, when I didn't think anyone in a position to help Nosey cared—so it warms my heart to see that Lawrence County does.

I hope Nosey is able to live permanently at The Elephant Sanctuary—where she can be with other elephants, unbridled by chains, and enjoy the simple pleasure of feeling the grass beneath her feet and the sun on her back—and that she may continue to roam its vast acreage for the remainder of her years. There's a chance that Nosey's story will have a happy ending—and who doesn't love a happy ending?

Sincerely yours,

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Carol Burnett

Another court date for the seizure of Nosey has not yet been set, according to officials.

Liebel has received 200 citations for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act, including for "chaining Nosey so tightly that she could barely move and repeatedly denying her adequate veterinary care," PETA stated in a release.

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