When Ideology Trumps the Law: The Theft of Nosey The Elephant

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Imagine what it is like to spend 34 years of your life doing something.

Long-term commitment is rare these days. People move from job to job. People divorce, marry late, or never marry at all.  Imagine a 34-year commitment to someone. Anyone. Could you do it?

That’s exactly what the Liebel family of Davenport, Florida has done. Hugo “Tom” and Franciszka Liebel saved a baby elephant 34 years ago. An elephant that lost her entire family to poachers. Since 1988 the Liebel family has devoted themselves to caring for Nosey the Amazing Elephant. Imagine what it’s like to have saved the life of an animal. Then imagine what it’s like to spend the next 34 years caring for and loving that animal. An animal that has entertained thousands of families for the past three decades traveling across America from coast to coast.

At the same time, imagine what it must be like to be stalked and harassed by a group of animal rights extremists who are determined to steal this special animal. Wealthy agitators who follow you from place to place, constantly filing frivolous complaints. Paid professional agitators who wallpaper the internet with lies about your family. No one can live under such constant surveillance from the fringe extremists of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The same group who recently lost a lawsuit for stealing and killing a little girl’s dog in Virginia.

“Animals are not ours to use for entertainment.”  ~ PETA

It was only a matter of time before these wealthy agitators won. All it took was for Nosey’s family to make an emergency stop to have the brakes of her transport trailer looked at. Bombarding a power-hungry local dog catcher with complaints, activists convinced her that she had the authority to seize an exotic wild animal that she had never seen in person or had any experience or knowledge of. Backed by extremists, local animal control officer Kimberly Carpenter seized Nosey the elephant away from her family. Carpenter cried that Nosey’s trailer was ‘too small’ and not adequate for her needs ignoring the fact that the Liebel’s trailer is USDA certified compliant. If the federal government says Nosey’s travel trailer is just fine, then it’s just fine no matter what some uneducated dog catcher thinks about it.

Just who is behind this miscarriage of justice? The local animal control office is controlled by a mother-daughter team, Baylee and Kim Carpenter, who also run their own private animal flipping business called Changing 42 Rescue reselling the animals they “pick up” around the area. A rescue that was only licensed last year.  Kim Carpenter is the head of Lawrence County Animal Control while her 22-year-old daughter Baylee is the head of neighboring Morgan County Animal Control. Neither of them have any documented education in animals, let alone exotic wild animals like elephants.

Lawrence County ACO Kimberly Carpenter

In 2016, Kim Carpenter bragged that her daughter picked up more than 842 animals that were sold through private rescues and never entered the local animal shelter. How many local families never found their stray family pet after Carpenter resold them off to as far away as New York? Carpenter brags that the only animals that either she or her daughter pick up that are ever turned into the county animal shelter are those that they can’t successfully sell off themselves. That’s one hell of a racket. In her first six weeks on the job Carpenter managed to somehow find and “pick up” 300 animals that she then sold off while at the same time the county paid her a $20 bounty for each animal. That’s 50 animals per week that she found supposedly running lose that she resold for her own profit. County commissioners claim she’s saving the county money. Tell that to the families who never see their pets again.

Carpenter also claims PETA was not involved in the seizure of Nosey, but it’s an amazing coincidence that the two so-called elephant ‘experts’ that Carpenter used from California and Texas just happened to be in town the same day that Nosey was stolen from her owners. It is no coincidence that PETA and other animal rights extremists have been stalking and attacking Nosey’s family for years.

The Liebel’s attorney had this to say, “The elephant had to be chained,” Underwood said about the seizure of Nosey along Alabama 157. “Who would allow an elephant to roam free near a four-lane highway? This case has bothered me how it has been controlled by the animal control officer. … The animal control officer has no authority to make decisions about elephants. She should be worrying about cats and dogs.”

Carpenter says her actions were as the result of “multiple calls from concerned citizens.”  What they won’t reveal is that all those calls are from notorious activists. Check out this advertisement last year for paid agitators in New Jersey.

My prime concern is the welfare of the elephant,” said attorney Callie Waldrep. “The outcome will give us time to see what kind of shape the animal is in.”

Really?  What kind of shape is the elephant in? The United States Department of Agriculture inspected Nosey five days before she was seized and said the elephant is just fine. The federal government says that Nosey’s transport trailer fulfills the federal law. Just who are these people in Alabama to say different? If you would like to see Nosey returned to the family she loves, please help the Liebels by donating to their legal defense fund.

See part 2 of this continuing series as Nosey’s condition rapidly deteriorates in the disease infested sanctuary she was sent too.

Katharine Dokken is a Contributing Writer at The Cavalry Group and the author of two new books, including The Art of Terror:  Inside the Animal Rights Movement, available on Amazon.  Follow Katharine and The Cavalry Group on Twitter:   @KatharineDokken  @TheCavalryGroup

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