~MEET TONY THE TRUCK STOP TIGER~ One of the World's Most Loved Tigers, Yet the SADDEST TIGER YOU WILL EVER SEE. "THIS STATE, IT'S GOVERNMENT, IT'S DEPT. OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES..EVEN HIS OWN VET-HAVE ALL TURNED THEIR BACKS ON HIM" WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY! JUSTICE WILL BE BROUGHT TO TONY THE TRUCK STOP TIGER…

Truck Stop {Court Case 2008}

Truck Stop {Court Case 2008}
Click Image to View Court Case 2008

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sky williamson » Big Cat News

sky williamson » Big Cat News

USDA Blog » APHIS: Rescuing Suffering Animals

USDA Blog » APHIS: Rescuing Suffering Animals

Giving Thanks for Tony's Sake

Giving Thanks for Tony's Sake

Dawn Flann says:
Three long years ago, a Woman stumbled upon a Truckstop, which advertised as WElCOME TO TIGER TRUCKSTOP.
At the time this woman had no idea, that she would find a Real Tiger there, but there he was. TONY THE TRUCKSTOP TIGER…alone in a Concrete Cage, situated right next to this Truckstop. A Truckstop with non stop traffic. Big Trucks coming in, going out..puffing out their diesel and their fumes…idling all night long during the winter months.
This Tiger as we all know today as Tony….left an impression on this woman, that perhaps the majority of us, although would be terribly saddened by this sight, may have perhaps left him as he was, maybe not.
Imagine if you can, this Woman walking up to this cage, seeing what she saw, and then dropping to her knees in disbelief. Imagine her looking at this Tiger, and what her thoughts could have been. Imagine her telling Tony the Truckstop Tiger that day, that she vowed she would help him, if it took until her dying days…..
Three years ago Sky Williamson started I would think…no actually I know, one of the hardest, longest, unexpected and challenging " Fight" of her life. She started a Cause for Tony the Tiger, alone……..
Now we skip to today, three years later, and look what this one woman has done, and look what she was able to do.
I am one of thousands upon thousands that has been touched by TONY THE TRUCKSTOP TIGER. His name, his life has become pretty much known WORLD WIDE. I don't think there is a Tiger loved as much as Tony, and in the same breath he is one of the saddest tigers in the State of Louisiana. He has been on exhibit for all ten years of his life. He has lived and breathed this Truckstop literally since he was a small young Tiger cub. Tony has never had a chance to breath fresh air, to play as a young cat in a open field, he has never had toys or any stimulation. He has never received the proper nutrients a Tiger in captivity should have. He has never had a pool to relieve him from the Louisiana Heat.
What he has had is a Cage to pace in for Ten years. A spotlight on him all night long never giving a moment of darkness and peace. People walking by and yelling at him, throwing things at him, doing anything to make him move so they could get a better look.
Tony has been neglected, under nourished, physically abandoned, mentally tortured.
Tony has been forgotten by the State of Louisiana and its Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries…..but this one Woman NEVER EVER FORGOT YOU TONY. No matter how much she was put down for what she tried to do to help you, no matter how many people shunned her, no matter how many disagreed with her ways to help you. No matter how many times Life through curves at her…she never swayed from her promise to you.
I pray your day comes for you soon Tony. Most of all I pray that your health keeps you well until this day comes. You Tony have changed the lives of so many people, you will never know dear boy….but the impact you have had on us all, makes me believe that JUSTICE WILL FINALLY COME YOUR WAY.
NEVER EVER STOP ROARING FOR TONY THE TRUCKSTOP TIGER. PLEASE NEVER STOP UNTIL HIS ROAR IS HIS AND HIS ALONE.

Animal Cruelty: Louisiana Truck Stop Proud of its Caged Tiger

Animal Cruelty: Louisiana Truck Stop Proud of its Caged Tiger

Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger, paces on the hard concrete surface of his cage. He has spent every day and night of the last eleven years on display at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana – nearly his whole life. It’s no life for a tiger, or any other animal.

That’s why, despite all legal obstacles, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is tireless in our fight to make sure that Tony finds his way to a reputable, accredited sanctuary where he can live out his life in a nurturing environment, rather than one that exploits him as a profitable spectacle.

ALDF is currently involved in three separate lawsuits concerning Tony – a no holds barred effort to free him from the miserable conditions he’s forced to endure day and night. ALDF’s victory last year against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries prevented the Department from renewing the annual permit that allowed Michael Sandlin, owner of Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop, to display Tony.

However, the Department has refused to seize Tony until Mr. Sandlin’s own lawsuit against the Department has resolved. Once Mr. Sandlin’s case is over, the Department should do its duty by acting quickly to ensure Tony’s removal to a humane sanctuary.

We are optimistic that we will prevail, and the court will uphold Louisiana’s right to protect public safety and animal welfare by prohibiting private possession of majestic animals like Tony.

Alleged abuse at GW Exotic Animal Park seen on tape - CBS News

Alleged abuse at GW Exotic Animal Park seen on tape - CBS News

Alleged abuse at GW Exotic Animal Park seen on tape


By Armen Keteyian



(CBS News) WYNNEWOOD, Okla. - There are more captive tigers in the U.S. today than there are in the wild throughout the world.

The popularity of exotic pets, such as tigers, lions, bears, even monkeys, has touched off a fierce debate between owners and animal activists.

Critics point to a recent tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio.

Five exotic animals were returned to an eastern Ohio farm earlier this month. It was a painful reminder of the day last October when owner Terry Thompson released 56 such animals before, police said, committing suicide.

Forty-eight of his animals were eventually killed by authorities concerned over public safety, pushing Ohio lawmakers to author a bill restricting private ownership of exotic pets.

Arguably, one of the loudest, most defiant voices on the front lines of the big cat debate is that of Joe Schreibvogel, owner of GW Exotic Animal Park outside Oklahoma City.

He's had run-ins with regulators.

What is he standing up for?

"The American right (in the) Constitution to be able to own whatever I want to own, as long as it's legal."

State laws on private ownership of wild animals are all over the map.

GW Exotic is licensed by the federal government because it's open to the public - charging admission to come very close to what Schreibvogel calls the largest "refuge" for "unwanted" animals in the world.

Rolling out over 54 acres, it's home to nearly 170 big cats: lions, tigers, leopards, and about 800 other animals of every size and stripe, including camels and exotic birds.

He also runs a controversial breeding program, selling tiger cubs - only to zoos, he says - for up to $5,000 each and, at the same time, cross-breeding exotics like "ligers," a cross between a lion and tiger, and even what he calls a tuliger, a mix of a liger and a tiger.

Does Schreibvogel have a background in zoology or veterinary medicine?

"I grew up a farm kid, and that's pretty much my background," he replied.

Over the years, GW Exotic has come under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for concerns ranging from "public contact with dangerous animals" to a "lack of physical barriers."

Armen Keteyian spoke with "CBS This Morning" co-hosts Erica Hill and Charlei Rose about the state of regulation of exotic animal ownership across the country, and about what it was like being so close to wild animals in GW Exotic Animals Park. To see that chat, click on the video below:




Records show that, in 2006, it had its license suspended for two weeks and paid $25,000 for "facilities violations".

It is currently under investigation by the USDA for the death of 23 tiger cubs between 2009-2010.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, says, "If something does go wrong, it can happen on a scale and on a magnitude that we have not seen before in this country."

The Humane Society was so concerned it recently sent an activist undercover into GW Exotics, posing as an employee.

"If he don't want to walk," Schreibvogel says as he's seen in an undercover video smacking a cub, "smack him in the ass and make him walk."

The undercover operative documented what the Humane Society calls alarming and abusive behavior.

Other undercover video shows a tiger being hit on the nose and a tiger being dragged on gravel.

In another incident on tape, a boy was suddenly attacked while interacting with a young tiger, and began screaming.

"Any person with any whit of common sense," says Pacelle, "knows that large, predatory animals are going to lash out at people. That's why sensible organizations say you have to keep people and dangerous wild animals separate."

CBS News showed the undercover video to Schreibvogel, who charged the incident with the boy was "set up" by the Humane Society.

Is he saying the Humane Society would put a little boy in harm's way?

"Oh, hell yeah, in a heartbeat," Schreibvogel replied. "I am saying Wayne Pacelle would stoop low enough to put a little kid at risk to get his agenda, so he could continue to get money."

Pacelle called that "a desperate and pitiful comment. Joe Schreibvogel has a history ... of allowing private citizens, patrons, tourists to interact with his animals."

Told that Pacelle had called GW Exotic "a ticking time bomb" potentially 10 times worse than Zainesville, Schreibvogel responded, "It is a ticking time bomb - if somebody thinks they're going to walk in here and take my animals away, it's going to be a small Waco."

Questioned about the highly emotive comparison by CBS News, he responded: "It's a very powerful statement, because I have poured my entire life into what I do, to care for animals. Nobody is going to walk in here and freely shut me down and take my rights away from me as long as I am not breaking the law."

Schreibvogel says he believes in regulation, but only in what he calls the "right" regulation, whatever that may be.

To see Armen Keteyian's report, which has some of the undercover video, click on the video in the player above.
© 2012 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

No Private Wild Animal Ownership

No Private Wild Animal Ownership

Exotic Pets : The Humane Society of the United States

Exotic Pets : The Humane Society of the United States
Keeping wild and exotic animals as pets threatens public health and safety as well as animal welfare. Wild animals can attack, they can spread disease, and the average pet owner cannot provide the care they need in captivity. Help us keep wild animals in the wild!

Silence

Silence



Silence is something my child knows nothing about, something that was not part of her make-up, but silence certainly followed what became a turning point in her life. Silence was the cold eerie, hollowness that followed her visit to a caged tiger in Louisiana. The silence that followed us home that evening remained with us the next day and existed until her resolve was once again restored with a determination to help her friend Tony. It was the silence of an exuberant child after the cold hard facts are realized.

The bond between this child and big cats goes way back, perhaps before birth in some unforeseen heaven, some place where her heart and soul were joined in the animal kingdom and a special gift was given to the world. Not that I, her parent would put her on that type of pedestal, but others have witnessed the insights and events that follow a vision, dream or thought. She has always talked and walked with a different perspective on wild cats. Genuinely concerned with the caging, petting and exploiting of these cats she would rebel at attempted interactions with them until she was old enough to teach us the difference and express her views confidently.

That is what brought us to the whole “Tony Situation” as family and friends refer to it. After learning about the 10 year old tiger in a cage at a truck stop no less, Breawna relentlessly proceeded to involve anyone in her quest to visit Tony and speak to his owner. She was appalled that a big cat would be treated as a roadside attraction for the amusement of passing tourist just like long ago places displayed animals. Her father and I were nonetheless surprised when a planned holiday trip was rebuked in favor of the Tony visit and plans were started. We had previously learned that she would continue on any quest regardless of the obstacles and wanted her to be fully informed and to realize that such a large undertaking as a conversation with Michael may not happen and if it did may not end well on her part.

The trip did require research and Breawna spent days on the computer, all the time not believing that any of the situations could be as bad or true as exposed. Many of her statements reflected that someone could not be treating a tiger that badly. Once she told me that she had been dreaming about Tony and was sad that he could only see out of his chain link prison, she also mentioned on occasion that he was lonely and tired. She insisted that she would video some pieces and be his voice. Her friends at Big Cat Rescue would benefit from those videos once taken. All the points she wanted to cover were written down and she reviewed them often, even with her teacher at school.

Discovering the , whole story about Tony and investigating what she could do and how she could effectively be his voice, did not make a difference in her perspective and I was faced with a determined child who would just not let it go. After weeks of begging to go, pressure to let her help, the persistence continued until a trip was finally planned and a life changing journey began.

Breawna designed a “Free Tony” t-shirt with the help of some school friends and commissioned an airbrush artist to make the shirt only one week before the trip.

We left home the day after Thanksgiving 2010; Black Friday took on a new meaning for our family that day. The trip started at 3am with an anticipated arrival to the truck stop off I-10 inGross Tete around 12 noon. It’s important to note that after a balmy 80 degree day we started westward from Florida in 70 degree temperatures that morning.

Prior to us leaving and during the trip she voiced over and over the thoughts that also concerned me…

· What to do if they tell you to leave? Can I stay by Tony’s cage?

· Will they arrest us for being there talking about how Tony feels?

· What if they touch me or hit me or throw something at us?

· Will they have cameras around too?



Initially she had wanted to set up a mock cage to spend the weekend in; to raise awareness of how Tony felt, but after the research we thought it would be better to do a quick visit.



We traveled with an energized 10 year old that chattered all the way. Traveling with Breawna involves multiple stops due to some joint issues she has, so it was slow going and took longer than expected. Halfway there the temperatures started to drop and rain pounded us. Still we continued, but a clothes buying stop was necessary once the temperatures reached the 50s. Armed with new coats and sweatshirts we were on the road again. Breawna purchased a sweatshirt with butterflies adorning the front to symbolize the freedom for Tony that she was fighting for. Butterflies also were prevalent on her Tony t-shirt for the same reason.

Finally we arrive to the area and begin looking for the exit long anticipated for. The temperature was 39 degrees and a steady rain continued to be a nuisance. It was 3pm in the afternoon and we realized that we had taken longer than we wanted and that Breawna was already tired and offered to get a place to stay the night and return early the next morning. You can only imagine the conversation the followed as we were reminded that spending money in Louisiana was not allowed and that a wait overnight to visit Tony just would not do.

The exit we were seeking finally came into view and the child in the back seat could hardly sit still. Up on her knees she saw for the first time the cage that Tony calls his home. There was excitement as she sees Tony for the first time, which was quickly followed by silence. We park by the west side of his cage to prevent the employees in the snack shop from detecting us while we were filming. I looked into the backseat to see Breawna silently crying. Her face a witness to the heartbreak she was experiencing. Her voice laced with shock as she explains that she needed a few minutes to herself, can we go check the cage out. Knowing that she will finish what she came to do, we take the situation in as she gathers her thoughts. 15 or so minutes pass and I need to know that she is O.K. Dry eyed now she is ready to face the demons she came to conquer and the visit begins. She wanted to spend some time just observing him and talked to him in a soothing quite voice, telling him that she was there to help him. She asked him to stop pacing and come to stand by the cage because she wanted to start taping.

The rain and cold temperatures took its toll on her ability to speak consistently. In addition we noticed as did she that a man exited the snack shop and was standing not far from the cage watching while he smoked a cigarette. Her constant vigilance on him is evident in several shots. She never asked to quit and never faltered as I continued to worry that we would be discovered and asked to leave. Filming at his cage took 30 or more minutes and involved several takes of the different passages that she prepared. Due to her concerns and the situation we found ourselves in, we encouraged her to use her notes regardless of her pleadings that she had it under control. Taping had to be finished before we were discovered and I was worried about the attention we were receiving from his employees. We were then surprised by her request to go see if Michael Sandlin was able to talk to her. She insisted even after we spoke to her about the risk while getting warm in the car. So we find ourselves in the snack shop being told that he was not around and would not be that evening. We noticed a t-shirt with a beautiful tiger and stopped to check it out. That shirt ended up being the t-shirt designed to make fun of animal activists. Breawna was absorbing the meaning of the shirt when a truck driver enlightens her to what it meant. The same man who had watched us film at the cage continued to watch us in the store. With a disgusted look at him, she flicks her hair and states that she is ready to go to see the stuffed cat over the salad bar. With no disrespect intended, I believe she had just enough of the shirt and the situation and she was angered that she was denied a chance to speak to Sandlin.

We had learned that a white tiger was displayed over a salad bar in the restaurant, and in her unbelieving mind she could not imagine that it was true. Upon entry to the restaurant she saw Selena and noticed how filthy the place was. She mentioned how disgusting it was and that they even put fake eyes in her, but she could tell how beautiful she had been. As we are waiting at the counter by the door because another attempt to talk to Sandlin was requested she noticed a CD with his picture. As we read that it was Christian music something snaps in that 10 year old and she can’t fathom how he could be a Christian and cage a big cat like that. It’s time to leave; she is done with waiting because no-one has acknowledged us anyway. How do I answer the questions about how could a person who believes in God keep a big cat as a pet in a cage.



We continue to walk around to see what Tony has to look at each day and discover oil and gas on the pavement, she mentioned that she wants to stand there and hear and smell what it’s like to live here and after a few minutes wants to go say good-by. That’s when we discover that he is still pacing and that the cold has settled in. It’s getting dark and the cars are still lining up despite the cold and rain. Other children are viewing the tiger and my child stands lonely at the chain link with the fallen look of failure on her face, she really thought that she would be able to talk to Michael and change his mind. The day has taken its toll on her body but more on her spirit and she bids good night and good by to Tony, promising him that she will not stop, will not give-up till he is free.



We leave around 4:30pm that cold, rainy November day with a much more mature child, one that fell silent as soon as we hit the highway and we drive home in silence. Even stopping later to eat we could not encourage her to share her thoughts. We arrive home early in the morning and carry her to bed. The following day I expected to be actively questioned and was surprised at the depressed child I was faced with. She wanted to hide and stayed in bed all day. She needed time to absorb all the ugliness and face the demons that haunted her. What haunts me the most about the whole trip was the profound silence that followed us home that day.



I am pleased when on Sunday she comes back to the world with more resolve to help not only Tony but all big cats in the same situation. If only more people could see through the eyes of a child and resolve to change things because they know no other way but the way they want it to be.



There comes a time as a parent that you must make a choice to allow your child to discover that bad does exist and to grow from their experiences. I would not change a thing and have been questioned on why I allowed her to do what she did. But these people don’t live with a persistent child that relentlessly pursues what she believes in. I don’t want to limit her experiences just because they are not convenient and pleasant. Even while protecting her I have to let her go to help her to grow into what she’ll one day become. Her experiences with Tony’s freedom have given her confidence in what she does; can and will make a difference. She sums it all up in a story she wrote about her experience in that it may not end the way you expect, but doing something for a good reason is better that doing nothing at all.



Would I do it again? You bet…there is no way to stop this charging spitfire once she sees injustice toward animals especially big cats, so I expect our future will be filled with journeys and adventures in helping these cats she so loves.





©2011 Kathy & Breawna Smith. All rights reserved.

Animal Legal Defense Fund : Making Sense of the Current Status of the Tony the Tiger Cases

Animal Legal Defense Fund : Making Sense of the Current Status of the Tony the Tiger Cases
Making Sense of the Current Status of the Tony the Tiger Cases
Posted by Matthew Liebman, ALDF Staff Attorney on May 14th, 2012

We at the Animal Legal Defense Fund are committed to doing everything within our power to make sure that Tony finds his way to a reputable, accredited sanctuary where he can live out the rest of his life in an environment that caters to his needs rather than one that exploits him as a profitable spectacle.

To that end, our litigation team has been busy making sure that Louisiana’s big cat ban is defended and enforced. We are currently involved in three separate lawsuits concerning Tony, and with all the various developments, we thought it was time for a big picture overview on where things stand.

The first lawsuit is the one ALDF filed last April to have Michael Sandlin’s tiger permit revoked. In November, Judge Michael Caldwell ruled in our favor, holding that Mr. Sandlin was ineligible for a permit under the state regulations. Judge Caldwell ordered the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke Sandlin’s permit and not issue any new permits. Mr. Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop have appealed that decision to the Louisiana Court of Appeal. We are currently waiting for the court to set a briefing schedule, which we expect in the coming months. It’s worth noting that the Department has complied with the court’s order and not issued a new permit to Mr. Sandlin, meaning that Mr. Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop continue to possess and exhibit Tony without the required permit.

In an attempt to remedy the Tiger Truck Stop’s open violation of the law, ALDF filed a second lawsuit to force the Department to enforce the state’s wildlife laws and turn Mr. Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop over to the District Attorney for prosecution. Unfortunately, earlier this month, Judge Caldwell held that enforcement decisions by an agency are discretionary duties that cannot be compelled by the judiciary, and that our plaintiffs lacked legal standing to bring the case. (Standing is a constant hurdle in animal law cases that limits who can bring a lawsuit. More information on standing is available here and here.) We are still considering our options on whether to appeal the decision. Supporters should understand that the decision in this second case does not undermine our victory in the first case. Judge Caldwell’s original ruling that Mr. Sandlin cannot have a tiger permit still stands, and it is still illegal for Mr. Sandlin to possess and exhibit Tony. This loss means only that we cannot force the Department to enforce the law. The Department has said publicly that it intends to enforce Louisiana law once litigation has concluded. Although that is not the timeline we hoped for (after all, Mr. Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are violating the law at this very moment and the Department could seize Tony at any time), we expect the Department will eventually do the job entrusted to it by Louisiana’s citizens: enforce the law and protect wildlife.

The third lawsuit is one filed by Mr. Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop against the State of Louisiana, the Department, and Iberville Parish, seeking to invalidate the state ban on private possession of big cats. If successful, the case would not only allow Mr. Sandlin to keep Tony, it could also open the floodgates to captivity for countless other captive wild animals. Mr. Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop did not name ALDF as a party to the suit, but given the high stakes, we insisted on being part of the case. We filed what is called a petition to intervene, which asks the court to allow the intervener into the case with the same rights and opportunity to be heard as the named parties. Although Mr. Sandlin and the truck stop objected to our intervention, Judge Janice Clark held that ALDF had a right to intervene in the case and granted our petition. Interestingly, we are now on the same side as the Department, our adversary in the other two lawsuits. Although we wish they were more proactive in enforcing the ban, both ALDF and the Department want the Louisiana big cat ban upheld. The next step is for our litigation team to file exceptions to Mr. Sandlin’s case and an opposition to his request for an injunction against the big cat ban.

We are optimistic that we will prevail and the court will uphold Louisiana’s right to protect public safety and animal welfare by prohibiting private possession of majestic animals like Tony. Our hope is that once Mr. Sandlin’s case is over, the Department will act quickly to ensure Tony’s removal to a humane sanctuary.

If this sounds complicated and frustratingly slow, that’s because it is. In order to manage large case loads and protect the due process rights of litigants, the legal system may take a while to resolve contentious issues. We too are growing impatient with every extra day Tony spends in captivity at the truck stop, and we are doing everything we can to accelerate his release to a proper sanctuary.

Still have questions about the cases? Post them below and we will answer as best we can.

Animal Legal Defense Fund : ALDF Back in Court Demanding State Take Action on Tony the Truck Stop Tiger, Now Exhibited Without a Permit

Animal Legal Defense Fund : ALDF Back in Court Demanding State Take Action on Tony the Truck Stop Tiger, Now Exhibited Without a Permit

ALDF Back in Court Demanding State Take Action on Tony the Truck Stop Tiger, Now Exhibited Without a Permit

After Baton Rouge Court’s Ruling Revoking Invalid Permit, ALDF Files Lawsuit Demanding Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Put an End to Owner’s Illegal Possession of the Big Cat

Tony the TigerUpdate
May 7, 2012:
In today’s hearing in Baton Rouge, District Judge Janice Clark agreed that the Animal Legal Defense Fund and two Louisiana residents can be parties to the lawsuit filed by Michael Sandlin, owner of Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop, against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). ALDF and the other interveners seek to defend the state’s law banning private ownership of big cats. Thanks to today’s ruling, ALDF will now have a right to participate in all steps of the litigation as it moves forward.

In their case, Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are suing the state, arguing that Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of big cats like Tony is unconstitutional—flying in the face of the current national sentiment that dangerous exotic animals should be more strictly regulated. Ohio is currently considering a bill that would ban new ownership of captive wild animals, following the massacre of 48 animals including lions, tigers, and bears, who were released by their Zanesville owner last October. Additionally, in February, a bipartisan bill—the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act”—was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would prohibit the breeding and private possession of captive big cats. ALDF’s intervention in Sandlin’s case will support Louisiana’s power to safeguard public safety and the welfare of animals like Tony through such legislative measures.

May 3, 2012:
In today’s hearing in Baton Rouge, the judge ruled ALDF’s plaintiffs lacked standing in our lawsuit to force the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to do its job of enforcing Louisiana’s big cat ban now that the Tiger Truck Stop and Michael Sandlin are keeping Tony the tiger without a permit, in open violation of state law. The judge also ruled that department has discretion whether or not to enforce Louisiana’s law banning private ownership of big cats at this time.

Over 50,000 of Tony's supporter have signed an ALDF petition to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries over the past year, urging them to do their job—we're all getting tired of waiting for the department to do the job it's supposed to do and protect the best interests of both Tony and the public.

Today’s decision in no way affects the judge’s ruling that Michael Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop cannot be granted a permit to keep Tony. We fully expect that once all the legal proceedings relating to this case have wrapped up, the Department will do the job it is supposed to do and make sure Tony is no longer displayed without a permit. We are considering our options for appeal in today’s decision, and we are continuing to fight Michael Sandlin’s attempts to delay the inevitable day when Tony will finally go to a suitable forever home at a sanctuary where he can live out his days as a tiger should.

“The eyes of a disbelieving nation have been on this case for well over a year, says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We're all wondering the same thing: why should Tony continue to languish at the Tiger Truck Stop, so many months after the judge’s ruling in our favor?”

May 2, 2012:
Two hearings are scheduled for the coming week in the ongoing case of Tony, the eleven-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger kept at Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop.

On Thursday, May 3, the court will consider the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s most recent lawsuit against the Louisiana Departnent of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). The lawsuit, filed on April 5, seeks to force LDWF to do its job of enforcing Louisiana’s big cat ban now that the Tiger Truck Stop and Michael Sandlin are keeping Tony without a permit, in open violation of state law.

On Monday, May 7, the court will hear ALDF’s petition to intervene in the lawsuit filed by the Tiger Truck Stop and its owner Michael Sandlin against the state of Louisiana. Their case argues that Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of big cats like Tony is unconstitutional—flying in the face of the current national sentiment that dangerous exotic animals should be more strictly regulated. ALDF’s petition in intervention supports Louisiana’s power to safeguard public safety and animal welfare through such legislative measures. An ALDF representative will be testifying at the hearing.

April 5, 2012

Baton Rouge, La. – This morning, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit to force the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to do its job of enforcing Louisiana’s big cat ban in the case of Tony, Grosse Tete’s “truck stop tiger.” Michael Sandlin's permit to keep Tony, an eleven-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, expired in December, yet he has continued to keep Tony confined at the Tiger Truck Stop, in open violation of state law. ALDF's lawsuit would compel the Department to take steps to enforce the law and report Sandlin's illegal possession of Tony to local law enforcement for prosecution. In addition, ALDF, along with two Louisiana residents, today filed a petition to intervene in Sandlin’s current lawsuit against the state; the interveners seek to defend the state’s law banning private ownership of big cats. The law offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. are providing pro bono assistance with the lawsuit and the petition to intervene.

In November 2011, the East Baton Rouge District Court granted ALDF’s request for a permanent injunction against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, ordering the Department to revoke the permit that allowed Sandlin to display Tony as a roadside exhibit at the truck stop where he has languished for over a decade. Despite the fact that Sandlin’s permit expired in December and cannot be renewed, he continues to display Tony, in violation of the big cat law, which the Department is responsible for enforcing.

“The state of Louisiana has explicit regulations designed to protect tigers like Tony, and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is required to enforce them” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The court has already granted Tony and ALDF a victory by ruling that Michael Sandlin’s permit to display Tony was illegal. Sandlin, now without a permit, cannot be allowed to continue to exploit this tiger with impunity.”

Meanwhile, Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are suing the state, arguing that Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of big cats like Tony is unconstitutional—flying in the face of the current national sentiment that dangerous exotic animals should be more strictly regulated. Ohio is currently considering a bill that would ban new ownership of captive wild animals, following the massacre of 48 animals including lions, tigers, and bears, who were released by their Zanesville owner last October. Additionally, in February, a bipartisan bill—the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act”—was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would prohibit the breeding and private possession of captive big cats. ALDF’s petition in intervention supports Louisiana’s power to safeguard public safety and animal welfare through such legislative measures.

Court allows us to intervene ~ we'll fight to uphold big cat ban.

ALDF@ALDFAnimalLaw
Victory in hearing 2 ! Court allows us to intervene in Sandlin's lawsuit against --we'll fight to uphold big cat ban.

Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.com

Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.com#/video/bestoftv/2010/11/12/jvm.big.cat.battle.hln

Louisiana § 115. Possession of Potentially Dangerous Wild Quadrupeds, Big Exotic Cats, and Non-Human Primates

Louisiana § 115. Possession of Potentially Dangerous Wild Quadrupeds, Big Exotic Cats, and Non-Human Primates

The Elephant in the Living Room, a Michael Webber Film

The Elephant in the Living Room, a Michael Webber Film

National ALDF Articles, National ALDF News | Examiner.com

National ALDF Articles, National ALDF News | Examiner.com

L.D.W.F. ADDS BIG EXOTIC CATS TO DANGEROUS LIST | Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

L.D.W.F. ADDS BIG EXOTIC CATS TO DANGEROUS LIST | Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Lawsuit alleges illegal ownership of Tony the tiger caged at truck stop - National Animal Policy | Examiner.com

Lawsuit alleges illegal ownership of Tony the tiger caged at truck stop - National Animal Policy | Examiner.com

ALDF Back in Court Demanding State Take Action on Tony the Truck Stop Tiger, Now Exhibited Without a Permit « Great Cats of the "World"

ALDF Back in Court Demanding State Take Action on Tony the Truck Stop Tiger, Now Exhibited Without a Permit « Great Cats of the "World"

Tony the truck stop tiger is still waiting in his cage - National Wildlife Headlines | Examiner.com

Tony the truck stop tiger is still waiting in his cage - National Wildlife Headlines | Examiner.com

Animal group keeps pressure on Tiger Truck Stop - The Independent Weekly

Animal group keeps pressure on Tiger Truck Stop - The Independent Weekly

Judge won't order truck stop tiger's removal - Bastrop, LA - Bastrop Daily Enterprise

Judge won't order truck stop tiger's removal - Bastrop, LA - Bastrop Daily Enterprise

Judge denies tiger appeal « Free Tony The Tiger

Judge denies tiger appeal « Free Tony The Tiger

Truck stop tiger hearings today, Monday | The Advertiser | theadvertiser.com

Truck stop tiger hearings today, Monday | The Advertiser | theadvertiser.com

Judge To Hear Animal Rights Group Lawsuit On Truck Stop Tiger - YouTube

Judge To Hear Animal Rights Group Lawsuit On Truck Stop Tiger - YouTube

Animal Legal Defense Fund : ALDF Back in Court Demanding State Take Action on Tony the Truck Stop Tiger, Now Exhibited Without a Permit

Animal Legal Defense Fund : ALDF Back in Court Demanding State Take Action on Tony the Truck Stop Tiger, Now Exhibited Without a Permit

Parish summoned to court next week in Truck Stop tiger lawsuit - Plaquemine, LA - Plaquemine Post South

Parish summoned to court next week in Truck Stop tiger lawsuit - Plaquemine, LA - Plaquemine Post South

Truck stop tiger hearings Thursday, Monday | KATC.com | Acadiana-Lafayette, Louisiana

Truck stop tiger hearings Thursday, Monday | KATC.com | Acadiana-Lafayette, Louisiana

Truck stop tiger hearings Thursday, Monday - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Truck stop tiger hearings Thursday, Monday - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Truck stop tiger hearings Thursday, Monday

Truck stop tiger hearings Thursday, Monday

Posted: May 03, 2012 6:22 AM EDT  Updated: May 03, 2012 6:22 AM EDT
BATON ROUGE, LA (AP) -
An animal rights group says a state district judge has scheduled a hearing Thursday on its lawsuit demanding he order the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to remove an 11-year-old tiger from a truck stop in Grosse Tete.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued last month, saying the department has refused to confiscate the animal from Tiger Truck Stop Inc. and its owner, Michael Sandlin.
It wants Judge R. Michael Caldwell to order local law enforcement agents to take that step.
The group also has been asked to be made a party to Sandlin's lawsuit challenging Louisiana's ban on private ownership of big cats.
It says Judge Janice Clark has scheduled a hearing Monday on that question.

http://www.wafb.com/story/18087867/truck-stop-tiger-hearings-thursday-monday

ALDF Back In Court For Tony May 3rd & 7th

ALDF Back In Court For Tony May 3rd & 7th

Update May 2, 2012: Two hearings are scheduled for the coming week in the ongoing case of Tony, the eleven-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger kept at Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop.
On Thursday, May 3, the court will consider the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s most recent lawsuit against the Louisiana Departnent of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). The lawsuit, filed on April 5, seeks to force LDWF to do its job of enforcing Louisiana’s big cat ban now that the Tiger Truck Stop and Michael Sandlin are keeping Tony without a permit, in open violation of state law.
On Monday, May 7, the court will hear ALDF’s petition to intervene in the lawsuit filed by the Tiger Truck Stop and its owner Michael Sandlin against the state of Louisiana. Their case argues that Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of big cats like Tony is unconstitutional—flying in the face of the current national sentiment that dangerous exotic animals should be more strictly regulated. ALDF’s petition in intervention supports Louisiana’s power to safeguard public safety and animal welfare through such legislative measures. An ALDF representative will be testifying at the hearing.

http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2023

Why Exotic Cats Don't Make Pets

Why Exotic Cats Don't Make Pets


Wild animals don't make good pets. How often have we heard that phrase used? It's so common that it falls into the same category as smoking is bad for you, or you must get eight hours of sleep. In other words, people that hear the phrase discount it as being too generalized or not applying to them. It may be right for a lot of people, but I'm different. Seem familiar? Well, there is validity to the proposition, but rarely does anyone bother to try to explain why. The prevailing attitude is the statement supposed to just be accepted as true by people in the animal field that say it. In the following article, I'll try to explain why wild animals really don't make good pets, as it applies to exotic cats.
First, let's define pet. Different people have different versions of what a pet means to them. So, let's go to the dictionary. Pet is defined as an animal that is domesticated and kept as a companion. (Emphasis added.) Now, let's define domesticated. It is defined as tame for human use. Okay, with that out of the way, let's see how it applies to exotic cats.
An exotic cat is an evolutionary marvel of reactions and instincts, together with a strong will. They can never be tamed in the sense we normally associate with that word. They are strongly affected by any source of stimulation, and it affects their mood and reactions. The degree of their reactions to any stimulus is also much greater than the response we would consider appropriate by our standards. These factors are crucial to understanding what must be known in order to safely be in contact with these beings on a regular basis. If one attempts to control the cat's actions, and the cat considers you a source of agitation at a time when it is already excited, nervous, or already agitated, the cat may well attack or strike out at you. The fact that you raised it will not matter. Sound like it can be domesticated?
There are times when any cat, no matter how much it likes you, will impulsively strike at you if you do the wrong thing at the wrong time. They don't turn, as conventional thinking dictates, but they will strike at a perceived source of irritation or agitation when in a certain state of mind. Perhaps one hour later, one could have done exactly the same thing that caused the strike with complete safety. One's safety lies in rehearsing positive encounters and mutually satisfactory interactions and avoiding or minimizing any negative or irritating encounters. Now, that is often not enough. For instance when a female comes in heat, it may become vicious towards any human (including you), even if it is normally the most docile of exotic cats. I have personally seen this happen. Sound like the kind of companion you want?
Now, what must one do if they hope to have any sort of relationship with an exotic cat? For one thing, it extremely important that one is totally tuned to a cat when they are in proximity to the cat. One's safety and the quality of one's relationship depends on one accurately reading the cat's eyes, how it walks, the speed of its movements, its sounds, the movements of its tail, the position of its head, how it approaches them, and how the cat responds to one's presence at that moment. Remember that these cats have all the emotions we have, but they don't have any inhibitions. What they feel like doing is what they'll do. If one misreads any element of their subtle signals as enumerated (plus many more too subtle to be easily stated), the cat will ultimately not be comfortable and will not want contact with you. Sound like your definition of a pet? Or a companion?
Also, be aware that children are always in peril, as the instincts of an exotic cat are always to lock on and stalk the smaller of any species. And with the added element of jerky and sudden movements often associated with children, any contact between the two is a recipe for disaster, as many recent anecdotes attest. There have been several children killed by exotic cats recently here in Texas alone.
But, one might say with some accuracy, haven't I seen many cases of very affectionate interaction between trainers or behaviorists and exotic cats, including on the web site of International Exotic Feline Sanctuary? The answer is yes,with a great many caveats. First, the affectionate and loving interaction witnessed is not easily attained. It is the result of a long period of positive interaction between a trained and quite knowledgeable professional, with many days of positive reinforcement. One can do things right for 100 days, and if one then creates tension or agitation for only a couple of days in a row the bond might well be seriously breached. Also, the author of this article has met and known most of the contemporary recognized experts and even individuals considered legends in handling exotic cats. They all bear a number of scars (including the author) attesting to the fact that experience does not come without consequences. Is this what one would expect or want from a pet?
In reality, the exotic cats bear no relationship to what is commonly called a pet. I would define a pet as an animal that can be taught to reasonably adapt itself to the domestic life of a human and be safely considered part of the human's household and environment. In the very best of circumstances, the relationship with an exotic cat can be similar to that one might have with a good friend, where many compromises are made and both parties have to adapt to each other's habits and personalities. However, unlike the relationstaming wild animals interacting with wild animals conservation
endangered species books on animals training macawship one might have with a good friend, there is always the potential for the cat to strike out and harm even a human with whom it has a very affectionate and close bond. One of the most common mistakes made by humans interacting with exotic cats is to impose themselves on the cat. One must always let the cat become comfortable with one's presence and let the cat dictate how much tactile interaction it wants to have at that moment or that day. Is that normally the concept one would entertain about how they would want to cohabit with what they would call a pet? For the great majority of people, I would think the answer would beNO!
Now, to the more mundane but vitally important areas of housing and feeding. We at the International Exotic Feline Sanctuary feel that big exotic cats, such as lions and tigers, should have a minimum of 4,500 square feet of living space to give them the quality of life to which they are entitled. Tigers and jaguars also require a pool for swimming and cooling. We find that building an appropriate habitat for such a cat costs around $30,000. This is actual cost. We have our own welder on staff and employees to do the work, so this doesn't include any contractor's fee or other expenses. In addition, a cat this size eats around 11 pounds of meat a day, which also must be supplemented with a variety of vitamins and minerals to give them the balanced diet required for their system.
So, while looking at that cute little cub one might see on a television show or at a zoo, before thinking, Gee, I'd like to own something like that, think long and hard. They stay a cub for a very short time. Then, all the problems enumerated above plus a large number I didn't complicate this article with come into play. If one really has a deep and abiding interest in learning about big cats and developing a relationship with one, my suggestion is to volunteer at a facility like ours. I sincerely believe one will find it much more satisfying to be a part of something that directly improves the lives of worthy exotic cats, rather than creating another problem that has to be solved by some sanctuary. Our volunteers are dedicated and committed, and they know they have a vital part in the improvement of our resident cats' quality of life. Many of them have been assisting us for many years. They feel fulfilled, and the cats' lives are better for their presence.
training cockatoos books on river otters animal advocacy animal behaviorist wild animal behavior
 
 

From ALDF: Win Justice for Animals This Holiday Season

 




Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF’s Executive Director on December 6th, 2011
For more than a decade, Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger, has spent every day and night at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. He paces on the hard concrete surface of his cage, unable to escape the stench of fuel and the deafening sound of diesel engines.
But Tony’s fate is about to change. Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit to free Tony – and we won! On November 2, East Baton Rouge District Court Judge Michael Caldwell ordered the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the current permit that allowed Tony to be kept at Tiger Truck Stop, and prohibited the agency from issuing any new permits to the truck stop.
It is because of your voice, your dedication, and your support that Tony will soon be free from the miserable, lonely conditions he’s endured day and night for the past decade. You made Tony’s freedom possible — and with your support, we can win victories for more exploited, neglected, and abused animals.

We would like nothing more than for Tony to live out his life in the comfort of an accredited sanctuary that is far better equipped to meet his basic needs and to give him the kind of life he deserves. ALDF continues to do everything we can to get Tony out of the truck stop as soon as possible, and make sure Tony’s next home is one where he can live out his life in a peaceful, natural environment, free of the fumes, toxins, and noise that have plagued his life to date.
ALDF is a relentless advocate for our clients like Tony, and we will not rest as long as any animal is being abused, neglected, or exploited. We’re able to do this because you stand by us and because you understand the role the law can play in the fight against animal cruelty.
Your support today will help ALDF win justice for more animals like Tony.
Thank you for all that you do for animals.

Posted by Animal Legal Defense Fund on December 6th, 2011
ALDF is well-aware of the allegations of horrendous conditions at G.W. Exotic Animal Park. Our attorneys are researching various legal strategies for ensuring that Tony goes to a reputable sanctuary, not a roadside zoo.
http://aldf.org/article.php?id=1891

ALDF Files Suit to Free Tony the Truck Stop Tiger


TonyUpdate
November 2, 2011:
Great news from Baton Rouge, where Judge Michael Caldwell has ruled in favor of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Louisiana taxpayers in our lawsuit to free Tony the Tiger from the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. Read more...

September 20, 2011:
The court has scheduled two new hearings in the Tony the Tiger case. On October 17th, the court will hear the State’s exceptions, which challenge the plaintiffs’ standing to bring the case. On November 2nd, the court will hear ALDF’s motion for a permanent injunction to revoke the permit that lets Michael Sandlin confine Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop.

August 29, 2011:
This morning, the Louisiana Court of Appeals ruled that Michael Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are necessary parties to the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s lawsuit to free Tony the tiger and ordered a new trial in the case. In so ruling, the Court vacated the permanent injunction issued by the trial court that would have freed Tony in December. The decision means ALDF will need to amend its complaint to add the new defendants, then re-do the litigation thus far. While we disagree with the Court of Appeals’ ruling, this is just a minor set-back. We are confident that the trial court got the law right the first time around and will rule the same way when we go through it again with Mr. Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop as parties.

August 15, 2011:
ALDF lawyers were in court today to defend against Sandlin's attempt to get our case dismissed. In another victory for Tony, the judge denied Sandlin’s motion. This means the case will continue to move forward. The Court has set a hearing date of September 15 for ALDF’s motion for a mandatory injunction, which seeks an immediate revocation of Sandlin’s permit to keep Tony.

July 19, 2011:
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a motion for a mandatory injunction in June that would compel the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the current permit and seize Tony—meaning that Tony would not have to wait until December to experience his new life beyond the Tiger Truck Stop. Although this specific request was part of ALDF’s original complaint, the court did not rule on it at the hearing in May. A new hearing on the motion for a mandatory injunction was set for July 22, but has been postponed to a later date yet to be determined.
May 6, 2011: Victory for Tony! This morning, a judge in East Baton Rouge District Court granted the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s request for a permanent injunction against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, preventing the Department from renewing the annual permit that allows Michael Sandlin, owner of Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop, to display Tony. When the current permit expires in December 2011, Sandlin will no longer be able to keep Tony confined as a roadside exhibit at the truck stop where he has languished for over a decade. Read more...
April 11, 2011
The stench of fuel. The deafening sound of diesel engines. The neverending boredom of captivity and isolation. Such are the conditions in which Tony, a 10-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, has spent every day and night of the last decade at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. It’s no life for a tiger, or any other animal. That’s why the Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a lawsuit in Louisiana, arguing that the permit that allows Tony to languish in a roadside cage violates state law.


Kristin Bauer, the actress who portrays the lovely-but-lethal vampire Pam on HBO's award-winning True Blood, has teamed with the Animal Legal Defense Fund in the fight to free Tony.

Tony’s Tragedy
In addition to being subjected to noise and diesel fumes 24-hours a day, Tony is also frequently harassed and taunted by visitors at the truck stop. His enclosure is devoid of adequate enrichment, such as logs, trees, or complex vegetation that would allow him to engage in natural tiger behaviors. He has no pool of water large enough to allow him to submerge himself to cool off in the blazing heat of the summer. As a result of the stress of his confinement, Tony constantly paces on the hard concrete surface of his enclosure, putting him at risk for dangerous and painful veterinary conditions. Michael Sandlin, the owner of Tony and the truck stop, has been cited by the USDA due to violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including a lack of proper sanitation and improper feeding practices.

Year after year of living at the Tiger Truck Stop have taken their toll on Tony’s health. The ambient noise from the nearby freeway and the idling trucks, their diesel engines spewing noxious fumes directly into his enclosure, is painful and obtrusive to an animal with such sensitive hearing and an acute sense of smell, says veterinarian Jennifer Conrad, who has 16 years of experience with captive large cats and has visited Tony. “Based on what I have observed of Tony’s enclosure at the Tiger Truck Stop and his behavior from video and photographs, it is my professional opinion that this tiger is in poor condition and needs intervention on his behalf,” she says.

ALDF’s Argument
On April 11, 2011, ALDF filed a lawsuit against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and its secretary Robert Barham, arguing that he violated state law in granting a permit allowing Sandlin to exhibit Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop. Joining ALDF as a co-plaintiff in the case is former Louisiana Representative Warren Triche, who authored the state’s law which led to the ban on the private ownership of tigers. Two other Louisiana residents, also deeply concerned by Tony’s long-time suffering, are additional co-plaintiffs.

At the heart of ALDF’s position is the fact that Sandlin’s current housing of Tony violates state and local laws. In 2006, the Louisiana state legislature unanimously passed Act 715, which required LDWF to control the private ownership of big cats. The department enacted regulations prohibiting citizens from keeping a tiger as a pet or exhibiting a tiger in the state. In passing these regulations, the department rightly declared that possession of big cats and certain other exotic animals poses significant hazards to public safety and health and is detrimental to the welfare of the animals.

The regulations provided an exception, however: individuals who legally owned big cats as of August 15, 2006, were grandfathered in. These owners would need to apply for an annual permit from the LDWF. An ordinance passed in Sandlin’s parish of Iberville in 1993 made it illegal for anyone to keep a tiger or other large exotic cat on his or her premises for exhibition. In other words, Sandlin did not qualify for the exception because he was not in legal possession of Tony. In addition, Sandlin is ineligible for the state’s grandfathering provision because he does not live on the premises where Tony is kept, contrary to regulations.

Despite the fact that Sandlin was ineligible for a grandfather permit, the LDWF nonetheless issued him one. ALDF is taking the department to court to invalidate this illegally-issued permit.—and free Tony from his troubled life at the truck stop.

REMEMBER..."THE WHY" TONYS LIFE HERE IS UNACCEPTABLE?

A LETTER DATED NOV 18, 2010 FROM MARK BEKOFF A PROFESSOR OF Animal Behavior/ Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.University of Colorado

Letter was addressed to Robert Barham of the Louisiana Dept of Wildlife & Fisheries. Nov 18, 2010, when the Animal Legal Defense Fund originally sent letters to them to try and get them to not re-new Tony's yearly permit.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund had asked Professor Marc Bekoff to make an assessment regarding the welfare of Tony.

quoted....
"It is my professional opinion that based on his review of Tonys enclosure and reports of his pacing along the fence in his cement cell, Tony is being kept in a manner that results in maltreatment. The circumstances of Tony's captivity at the Tiger Truck Stop demonstrate a total failure to give a tiger what he or she needs to thrive. While his enclosure may be sufficient to keep Tony alive, the quality of that life is terrible and unacceptable.

Tony's approximately 3,200 sq foot enclosure is a cement cell and a shadeless grassy yard. This space does not even begin to accomodate an individual of a species who naturally disperses over miles of terrritory. Not only is the size of Tony's enclosure inadequate for his biological needs, it is also IMPOVERISHED. His envoronment is bereft of anything he would come across and interact with in his natural habitat. There is no evidence of environmental enrichment, which is absolutely vital to the psychological health of captive wildlife. A ball is completely unnatural to a tiger and unacceptable as the only provision of enrichment.

Tony's enclosure also deprives him of the ability to make choices about how to spend his time and where. Tigers are elusive and secretive animals. They choose to spend much of their time completely concealed among dense vegetation. Tony is on constant display at Tiger Truck Stop. His only escape appears to be a concrete floored cinderblock den that is face-open to spectators snapping pictures and making noise to get his attention. Ton'ys environment also provides him inadequate water habitat. From what I understand, Tony is part Bengal Tiger. Bengal tigers live in hot climates amd are largely aquatic. Not only do they hunt and play in the water, they need to submerge in it during the heat of the day to stay cool. Tony's water trough appears to be too small for him to swim in and the sides appear to high for him to comfortable to submerge.

In summation, Tony's enclosure is completely unnatural and totally unfit for a wild animal. Tiger's do not naturally live on concrete slabs and eat ground meat, on constant display. They should not endure years of uninterrupted noise, artificial light and air pollution. In light of what is known about the behavior of habitat needs of tigers, AZA accredited zoos are working very hard to improve conditions of tigers in captivity. They are providing the opposite of what Tony is being forced to endure at the Tiger Truck Stop. Specifically, zoos are starting to limit visiting hours and now give tigers the option within their enclosures to be completely off-display.

They are incorporating natural features into enclosures SUCH AS VEGETATION FOR TIGERS TO HIDE IN AND SHADE THEMSELVES AS WELL AS POOLS IN WHICH TO SWIM AND SUBMERGE. These zoos are also providing portions of intact carcasses to stimulate natural feeding behavior and implementing varying feeding times and practices to eliminate the boredom and monotony associated with a total lack of novel and unpredictable stimulation to which wild tigers are exposed. To come to the point while we sadly have tigers in captivity, there is clearly a more responsible and humane way to house these wild cats.

The manner in which Tony is being kept at Tiger Truck Stiop falls significantly below what I would consider the minimum required to ensure the psychological welfare of a tiger in captivity."
It is Mr. Bekoff's professional opinion that the manner in which Tony is being kept is negligent and does not even meet the minimum standards for accredited zoos and what he would consider marginally humane. He also states that the situation misinforms impressionalble spectators about the true nature of tigers and demonstrates an abysmal disregard for public safety.

The danger is heightened in tigers who are already socially and environmentally frustrated, as demonstrated here.

Tigers are powerful, complex and unpredictable carnivores and should not be underestimated. Experienced handlers and animal behavorists, not someone whose expertise and training is the managment of a gas station, must constantly oversee their care and security. The fact that a person would even house a tiger in a chain link enclosure at a gas station demonstrates the complete failure to appreciate the danger and the needs of this animal.

Mark Bekoff is a Professor in Colorado
Ethologist for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (with Jane Goodall) www.ethologicalethics.org


PHOTO COPYRIGHT OF MHK.

WAFB 9 ~ Ruling expected in truck stop tiger case

Ruling expected in truck stop tiger case




By MARY FOSTER
Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, LA (AP) - A judge has heard a new round of arguments on whether a truck stop can keep a live tiger on display as it has done for over a decade.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund had already won a ruling that said the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries could not issue a permit allowing the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, LA to continue exhibiting a live tiger as a roadside attraction.
The case was before state District Judge Mike Caldwell in Baton Rouge again on Wednesday.
Caldwell was expected to rule in the afternoon.
Wildlife officials said Tony is the last privately-owned big, exotic cat in the state.
The defense fund wants the tiger moved to a more natural setting to live out its life.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


This “Take Action” information provides many ways you can be a voice for Tony and remain active in this campaign.


1. Sign and Share Tony’s Petitions – Petitions are a great way to keep Tony’s story active, people supportive and also demonstrate the vast amount of supporters Tony has all over the world who want to see him relocated to an accredited big cat sanctuary. Please sign the petitions and share them via email, Twitter and Facebook. There are easy sharing options at the links below.

ALDF Sponsored Petitions:
http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5154/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6207
http://www.change.org/petitions/speak-out-for-tony-the-truck-stop-tiger

Care2 Sponsored Petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/129/272/008/

2. Let The LDWF know your objections to the renewal of their permit and that Tony must be relocated to an accredited big cat sanctuary. Information for the key people to contact can be found here:
Your letters, emails, and phone calls objecting to the renewal of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries permit to Tony’s owner are an important part of advocating for Tony. Please contact the following individuals and agencies. Louisiana Residents: You have a strong voice for Tony – let your elected officials know this situation is unacceptable in your state. Congress.org is a great site to find contact information – just enter your zip code in the right hand side of this link: http://www.congress.org/ to find the postal addresses and contact forms of your elected officials. If you register for free with congress.org you can also directly email your state and federal officials from the site.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Maria Davidson
Large Carnivore Program Manager
Louisiana Department Wildlife and Fisheries
5652 Highway 182
Opelousas LA 70570
Phone: (337) 948-0255
Fax: (337) 948-0213
e-mail: mdavidson@wlf.la.gov
Fred Kimmel (Ms. Davidson’s supervisor)
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
2000 Quail Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Phone: (225) 765-2355
e-mail: fkimmel@wlf.la.gov
Main Office:
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
2000 Quail Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Phone: (225) 765-2800
Robert J. Barham, Secretary
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
P.O. Box 98000
Baton Rouge, LA 70898
Phone: (225) 765-2623
Fax: (225) 765-2607
e-mail: Chendrick@wlf.louisiana.gov
Please also try these direct e-mail addresses for Sec. Barham – so far they have not bounced back:
rbarham@wlf.la.gov
sfalcon@wlf.la.gov
website: http://www.gov.state.la.us/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&cpid=16
website: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/
web e-mail form: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/contact
FaceBook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Baton-Rouge-LA/Louisiana-Department-of-Wildlife-and-Fisheries/112762357891
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ldwf
Governor Bobby Jindal
Office of The Governor
P. O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004
Phone: (225) 342-7015
Fax: (225) 342-7099
web e-mail form: http://www.gov.la.gov/index.cfm?md=form&tmp=email_governor
Governor Jindal’s FaceBook Page: http://www.facebook.com/bobbyjindal
website: http://www.gov.state.la.us/
Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Capitol Annex Building
1051 North Third Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802
Also:
P.O. Box 44243
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-424
Phone: (225) 342-7009
Fax: (225) 342-1949
e-mail: ltgov@crt.state.la.us
online e-mail contact form: http://www.ltgov.la.gov/?md=form&tmp=share_ideas
website: http://www.ltgov.la.gov/
Louisiana State Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell
Constituent Services
Street: 1885 N. Third Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Mail: P.O Box 94005
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Phone: 225-326-6079
Website: http://www.ag.louisiana.gov/index.aspx
More Information: http://www.ag.louisiana.gov/Article.aspx?articleID=28&catID=12
Note: Contact information for state legislature and congress representative below is for those individuals representing Grosse Tete. Please contact the state senator/representative and congressman of your district. Find out who your representatives are here: http://www.congress.org/ by entering your zip code under “Get Involved.”
State Legislators
Sen. Robert Marionneaux Jr. (Louisiana State Senate – District 17)
Capitol Office
P.O. Box 94183
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Phone: (225) 342-2040
Fax: (225) 342-0617
District Office
P.O. Box 577
Livonia, LA 70755-0577
Phone: (225) 637-3623
e-mail: lasen17@legis.state.la.us
website: http://senate.legis.state.la.us/Marionneaux/
Rep. Karen St. Germaine (House of Representatives – District 60)
Baton Rouge Office:
State Capitol,
Louisiana 70804-9062
Phone: (225) 342-6945
Fax: (225) 342-8336
Plaquemine Office:
57835 Plaquemine Street
Plaquemine, Louisiana 70764
Phone: (225) 687-2410
Fax: (225) 687-6272
e-mail: larep060@legis.state.la.us
Website: http://house.legis.state.la.us/H_Reps/members.asp?ID=60
Congress
The Honorable David Vitter
United States Senate
516 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1804
Phone: (202) 224-4623
Fax: (202) 228-5061
858 Convention Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: (225) 383-0331
Fax: (225) 383-0952
web e-mail form: http://vitter.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm
website: http://vitter.senate.gov/public/
The Honorable Mary Landrieu
United States Senate
328 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1803
Phone: (202) 224-5824
Fax: (202) 224-9735
707 Florida Street, Room 326
Baton Rouge, LA 70801
Phone: (225) 389-0395
Fax: (225) 389-0660
web e-mail form: http://landrieu.senate.gov/about/contact.cfm
website: http://landrieu.senate.gov/
Rep. Rodney Alexander (Representing Louisiana’s 5th district)
Washington, D.C. Office:
316 Cannon House Office Building,
District of Columbia 20515-1805
Phone: (202) 225-8490
Fax: (202) 225-5639
Alexandria Office:
1412 Center Court, Suite 402
Alexandria, Louisiana 71301
Phone: (318) 445-0818
Fax: (318) 445-3776
Monroe Office:
1900 Stubbs Avenue, Suite B
Monroe, Louisiana 71201
Phone: (318) 322-3500
Fax: (318) 322-3577
Web e-mail form: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/webreturn/?url=http%3A%2F%2Falexander.house.gov
FaceBook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rodney-Alexander/20002702544
Webpage: http://alexander.house.gov/
Iberville Parish Council
J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr.
Iberville Parish President
Physical Address:
J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr.
Iberville Parish President’s Office
58050 Meriam Street
Plaquemine, LA 70765
Mailing Address:
J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr.
Iberville Parish President
P.O. Box 389
Plaquemine, LA 70765-0389
Phone: (225) 687-5190
Fax: (225) 687-5250
e-mail: jburleigh@ibervilleparish.com
Iberville Parish President Executive Staff
Judith “Judy” L. Burleigh
Administrative Assistant
58050 Meriam Street
P.O. Box 389
Plaquemine, LA 70765-0389
Business: (225) 687-5190
Fax: (225) 687-5250
e-mail: jburleigh@ibervilleparish.com
Edward “Lucky” Songy
Chief Administrative Officer
58050 Meriam Street
P.O. Box 389
Plaquemine, LA 70765-0389
e-mail: esongy@ibervilleparish.com
Mayor of Grosse Tete
Mayor Michael Chauffe
P. O. Box 98
18125 Willow Street
Grosse Tete, LA 70740
Phone: (225) 648-2131


Louisiana Residents: It’s vital for your elected officials, The LDWF, etc. to hear from their own constituents. So please take the time to write, email or call to tell them a tiger used as a roadside attraction in your state is unacceptable. Contact Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal with your concerns for Tony. See Information:
Please participate in these 4 actions directed at Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
State your concerns for Tony’s health and welfare and ask the Governor to address this serious animal welfare issue which is allowed to continue in his state. Please keep your correspondence on point and respectful – while we all are passionate about Tony’s situation, composed and courteous letters, phone calls, etc. have a better chance of being taken seriously.

While it’s vital for all of us to participate, Louisiana residents have the opportunity to make a real impact by supporting these actions:

Call the Governor’s office: 1-225-342-7015 or 1-225-342-0991
This can be an ongoing call in – maybe if we’re consistent it’ll provoke a response.
Postal letters can be sent to:Governor Bobby Jindal
Office of The Governor
P. O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004
Online e-mail contact form: http://www.gov.la.gov/index.cfm?md=form&tmp=email_governor

Thanks again to all of Tony’s friends for never giving up on him.


3. If you go to Tiger Truck Stop to see Tony document your visit with photographs or video and email them along with your personal statement to the founder of the FREE TONY THE TIGER CAMPAIGN at FREETONYTHETIGER@GMAIL.COM AND PLEASE ALSO SEND TO ALDF Matthew Liebman mliebman@aldf.org  who is the head attorney taking care of Tony's court case.

Your concerns for Tony’s health and welfare along with your photos should also be brought to the attention of the LDWF: Secretary Barham, Maria Davidson and Fred Kimmel. Their contact information:

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Maria Davidson
Large Carnivore Program Manager
Louisiana Department Wildlife and Fisheries
5652 Highway 182
Opelousas LA 70570
Phone: (337) 948-0255
Fax: (337) 948-0213
e-mail: mdavidson@wlf.la.gov
Fred Kimmel (Ms. Davidson’s supervisor)
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
2000 Quail Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Phone: (225) 765-2355
e-mail: fkimmel@wlf.la.gov
Main Office:
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
2000 Quail Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Phone: (225) 765-2800
Robert J. Barham, Secretary
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
P.O. Box 98000
Baton Rouge, LA 70898
Phone: (225) 765-2623
Fax: (225) 765-2607
e-mail: Chendrick@wlf.louisiana.gov
Please also try these direct e-mail addresses for Sec. Barham – so far they have not bounced back:
rbarham@wlf.la.gov
sfalcon@wlf.la.gov
website: http://www.gov.state.la.us/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&cpid=16
website: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/
web e-mail form: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/contact
FaceBook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Baton-Rouge-LA/Louisiana-Department-of-Wildlife-and-Fisheries/112762357891
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ldwf
Governor Bobby Jindal
Office of The Governor
P. O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004
Phone: (225) 342-7015
Fax: (225) 342-7099
web e-mail form: http://www.gov.la.gov/index.cfm?md=form&tmp=email_governor
Governor Jindal’s FaceBook Page: http://www.facebook.com/bobbyjindal
website: http://www.gov.state.la.us/
Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Capitol Annex Building
1051 North Third Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802
Also:
P.O. Box 44243
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-424
Phone: (225) 342-7009
Fax: (225) 342-1949
e-mail: ltgov@crt.state.la.us
online e-mail contact form: http://www.ltgov.la.gov/?md=form&tmp=share_ideas
website: http://www.ltgov.la.gov/
Louisiana State Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell
Constituent Services
Street: 1885 N. Third Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Mail: P.O Box 94005
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Phone: 225-326-6079
Website: http://www.ag.louisiana.gov/index.aspx
More Information: http://www.ag.louisiana.gov/Article.aspx?articleID=28&catID=12
Note: Contact information for state legislature and congress representative below is for those individuals representing Grosse Tete. Please contact the state senator/representative and congressman of your district. Find out who your representatives are here: http://www.congress.org/ by entering your zip code under “Get Involved.”
State Legislators
Sen. Robert Marionneaux Jr. (Louisiana State Senate – District 17)
Capitol Office
P.O. Box 94183
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Phone: (225) 342-2040
Fax: (225) 342-0617
District Office
P.O. Box 577
Livonia, LA 70755-0577
Phone: (225) 637-3623
e-mail: lasen17@legis.state.la.us
website: http://senate.legis.state.la.us/Marionneaux/
Rep. Karen St. Germaine (House of Representatives – District 60)
Baton Rouge Office:
State Capitol,
Louisiana 70804-9062
Phone: (225) 342-6945
Fax: (225) 342-8336
Plaquemine Office:
57835 Plaquemine Street
Plaquemine, Louisiana 70764
Phone: (225) 687-2410
Fax: (225) 687-6272
e-mail: larep060@legis.state.la.us
Website: http://house.legis.state.la.us/H_Reps/members.asp?ID=60
Congress
The Honorable David Vitter
United States Senate
516 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1804
Phone: (202) 224-4623
Fax: (202) 228-5061
858 Convention Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: (225) 383-0331
Fax: (225) 383-0952
web e-mail form: http://vitter.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm
website: http://vitter.senate.gov/public/
The Honorable Mary Landrieu
United States Senate
328 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1803
Phone: (202) 224-5824
Fax: (202) 224-9735
707 Florida Street, Room 326
Baton Rouge, LA 70801
Phone: (225) 389-0395
Fax: (225) 389-0660
web e-mail form: http://landrieu.senate.gov/about/contact.cfm
website: http://landrieu.senate.gov/
Rep. Rodney Alexander (Representing Louisiana’s 5th district)
Washington, D.C. Office:
316 Cannon House Office Building,
District of Columbia 20515-1805
Phone: (202) 225-8490
Fax: (202) 225-5639
Alexandria Office:
1412 Center Court, Suite 402
Alexandria, Louisiana 71301
Phone: (318) 445-0818
Fax: (318) 445-3776
Monroe Office:
1900 Stubbs Avenue, Suite B
Monroe, Louisiana 71201
Phone: (318) 322-3500
Fax: (318) 322-3577
Web e-mail form: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/webreturn/?url=http%3A%2F%2Falexander.house.gov
FaceBook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rodney-Alexander/20002702544
Webpage: http://alexander.house.gov/
Iberville Parish Council
J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr.
Iberville Parish President
Physical Address:
J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr.
Iberville Parish President’s Office
58050 Meriam Street
Plaquemine, LA 70765
Mailing Address:
J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr.
Iberville Parish President
P.O. Box 389
Plaquemine, LA 70765-0389
Phone: (225) 687-5190
Fax: (225) 687-5250
e-mail: jburleigh@ibervilleparish.com
Iberville Parish President Executive Staff
Judith “Judy” L. Burleigh
Administrative Assistant
58050 Meriam Street
P.O. Box 389
Plaquemine, LA 70765-0389
Business: (225) 687-5190
Fax: (225) 687-5250
e-mail: jburleigh@ibervilleparish.com
Edward “Lucky” Songy
Chief Administrative Officer
58050 Meriam Street
P.O. Box 389
Plaquemine, LA 70765-0389
e-mail: esongy@ibervilleparish.com
Mayor of Grosse Tete
Mayor Michael Chauffe
P. O. Box 98
18125 Willow Street
Grosse Tete, LA 70740
Phone: (225) 648-2131
Also contact the USDA. From http://www.animalabuse.com : “Report Animal Abuse to USDA” It takes many years and many complaints to get the USDA to take action so it is important that you contact them with facts, photos, videos and information they can use.
USDA contact info at:
http://www.911animalabuse.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=45:report-animal-abuse-to-usda-&catid=29:info
The USDA’s Investigative and Enforcement Services http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ies/contacts.shtml
Please also try this e-mail address for USDA Secretary Vilsack: agsec@usda.gov and this e-mail for Lynn P. Bourgeois: Lynn.P.Bourgeois@aphis.usda.gov

If there are any veterinarians and experts who can attest to the detrimental effects on a tiger’s health caused by living at a truck stop provide your statements to ALDF Matthew Liebman mliebman@aldf.org who is the head attorney taking care of Tony's court case. PLEASE DO NOT SEND THEM TO BIG CAT RESCUE THAT WILL NOT HELP TONY'S CASE.

4. Continue to network Tony’s story; share the links to his ALDF, Facebook, Youtube and WordPress pages along with the link to this post and the founders facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SWTigers

Another great way to network for Tony is to add some or all of these links to the signature block of your outgoing emails. You’ll be letting people know about Tony with each email you send.
Links For Tony:
The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Page For Tony: http://www.aldf.org/tony
The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Video For Tony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaCM6QoWNd0

Tony’s Story: Animal Legal Defense Fund Files for Tony the Tiger's Freedom http://news.change.org/stories/animal-legal-defense-fund-files-for-tony-the-tigers-freedom

Tony’s Story  



Video Courtesy of Big Cat Rescue of Tampa FL
UPDATE: October 7, 2011: The exception hearing on October 17th is rescheduled to November 2nd when the court will also hear The Animal Legal Defense Fund ‘s motion for a permanent injunction to revoke the permit which allows Mr. Sandlin to keep Tony at the truck stop.

UPDATE: September 20, 2011: Via The Animal Legal Defense Fund: The court has scheduled two new hearings in the Tony the Tiger case. On October 17th, the court will hear the State’s exceptions, which challenge the plaintiffs’ standing to bring the case. On November 2nd, the court will hear ALDF’s motion for a permanent injunction to revoke the permit that lets Michael Sandlin confine Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop.
UPDATE: August 29, 2011: Via The Animal Legal Defense Fund: “This morning, the Louisiana Court of Appeals ruled that Michael Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are necessary parties to the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s lawsuit to free Tony the Tiger and ordered a new trial in the case. In so ruling, the Court vacated the permanent injunction issued by the trial court that would have freed Tony in December. The decision means ALDF will need to amend its complaint to add the new defendants, then re-do the litigation thus far. While we disagree with the Court of Appeals’ ruling, this is just a minor set-back. We are confident that the trial court got the law right the first time around and will rule the same way when we go through it again with Mr. Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop as parties.”
UPDATE: August 15, 2011: Today’s exception hearing concerning Mr. Sandlin’s attempt to have the case dismissed has been denied. The judge will not allow the “interveners” to be party to the suit or to have the case dismissed. More info: http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/victory-for-tony-aldf-update-on-today%e2%80%99s-hearing-courtesy-of-mary-haik/

UPDATE: On August 15, lawyers for ALDF will be in court in Baton Rouge to defend against Michael Sandlin’s, attempt to get the case dismissed. The Court has also set a hearing date of September 15 for ALDF’s motion for a mandatory injunction, which seeks an immediate revocation of Sandlin’s permit to keep Tony.

UPDATE: July 18 2011: The hearing scheduled for July 22, 2011 has been postponed. More information will be posted when available.

UPDATE: June 28 2011: A hearing is now scheduled for July 22. Please continue to support Tony by signing his petitions and voicing your concern for him. Petition links and information on actions you can take for Tony: Your Continued Support For Tony Is Needed!!
Thank you.

UPDATE: June 14, 2011: The hearing scheduled for June 14 has been postponed to a later date yet to be determined. The hearing was continued to provide the Department an opportunity to conduct discovery, an essential stage of the litigation process.
UPDATE: June 3, 2011: Next Steps in ALDF’s Fight to Free Tony the Truck Stop Tiger http://www.aldf.org/article.php?id=1723 A new hearing on the motion for a mandatory injunction has been set for June 14.

UPDATE: May 16, 2011 From ALDF: Answers to Your Questions About ALDF’s Win for Tony the Tiger 
http://aldf.org/article.php?id=1711 Please also see this post on how you can continue to support Tony:
Tony’s Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-TONY-the-Tiger/256505554394426
UPDATE: Victory For Tony!!! On May 6, 2011 Judge R. Michael Caldwell grants a permanent injunction which blocks The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries from issuing a new permit to Tony’s owner Michael Sandlin. More information: http://www.aldf.org/article.php?id=1700

UPDATE: On May 5, 2011 ALDF goes to court for Tony . More info: http://aldf.org/article.php?id=1699
UPDATE: On April 11, 2011 The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and its Secretary Robert Barham. The lawsuit argues that the permit issued by the LDWF which allows Tony to be kept on display at the truck stop violates state and local laws. Read more at: www.aldf.org/tony There are two ALDf sponsred petitions for Tony; please sign and share the links: http://tinyurl.com/tonyaldfpetition and http://www.change.org/petitions/speak-out-for-tony-the-truck-stop-tiger
UPDATE: On December 14, 2010 The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries renewed their permit to Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin allowing him to keep and display Tony at the truck stop. The permit renewal by no means discourages us to continue advocating for Tony and for the home and life he deserves at an accredited big cat sanctuary. For an updated list of ways you can continue being a voice for Tony. Thanks to all of Tony’s friends for you support and dedication to him – don’t ever give up the fight for this handsome tiger’s freedom

Tony’s Story

Tony is a 11 year old Siberian/Bengal tiger used as a roadside attraction at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete Louisiana. Tony is an example of the serious problem of privately owned tigers in the United States whose numbers exceed tigers left in the wild. Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, has bought, sold, bred, and exhibited tigers for over 20 years. In 2003, because of violations and fines, Mr. Sandlin and the USDA made an agreement where 3 of the 4 tigers he owned, Toby, Khan and Rainbow, were sent to Tiger Haven in Kingston TN. The USDA reduced the fines and allowed Mr. Sandlin to keep one tiger, Tony.

http://www.lsureveille.com/news/tigers-find-new-home-after-suffering-neglect-1.1196294#5

The Louisiana legislature passed Act 715 in 2006 which prohibited the ownership and sale of large exotic cats, including tigers in Louisiana.
http://www.legis.state.la.us/billdata/byinst.asp?sessionid=06RS&billid=HB795&doctype=ALL

Those individuals who legally owned big cats as of August 15, 2006 were grandfathered in under this act. These owners would need to apply for an annual permit from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and adhere to additional restrictions and stipulations.
http://www.bornfreeusa.org/b4a2_exotic_animals_state.php?s=la

On July 20, 2007 The Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries wrote to Michael Sandlin informing him of the new state rules. He was given an application to fill out and submit and was told Tony would be grandfathered in if the permit was issued.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries wrote Michael Sandlin on October 22, 2008 advising him that his application had been placed on hold based upon their discovery of the 1993 Iberville ban. Part of their new rules (LAC 76: V. 115. H.13) require that the facility be in compliance with all local ordinances. It was discovered that the 1993 Iberville Parish ordinance prohibited ownership and display of exotic animals such as tigers, but the ordinance was never enforced.

Original and Amended Ordinance: http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/revised-ordinance/

Because he was not in compliance with the 1993 Iberville ordinance ban on displaying wild animals, Mr. Sandlin was issued a citation form the LDW&F on November 17, 2008 and given 30 days to find a home for Tony outside the state of Louisiana. Mr. Sandlin was given until December 16, 2008 to relocate Tony.

Big Cat Rescue, a non-profit educational accredited big cat sanctuary in Tampa Florida wrote to Mr. Sandlin on November 22, 2008 and offered to take Tony and provide a permanent home for him at no cost to Mr. Sandlin. Big Cat Rescue’s offer went unanswered and they contacted Maria Davidson, Large Carnivore Project Manager at the LDW&F and offered their assistance to seize Tony.
Mr. Sandlin filed a petition for a temporary restraining order on December 15, 2008 against the LDW&F to stop them from seizing Tony. Judge J. Robin Free signed the order on December 16, 2008.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,467398,00.html
http://savethetigers62.blogspot.com/2008/12/judge-issues-order-in-tiger-case.html

December 16, 2008 Iberville Parish Council Meeting:
The issue of what to do with the tiger was not on the council’s agenda, but members agreed to let one representative from each delegation have three minutes to state their cases.
http://savethetigers62.blogspot.com/2008/12/tigers-fate-discussion-gets-unruly-in.html


December 22, 2008
A court hearing that had been set for Dec. 29 was postponed to allow the council time to consider amending a 1993 parish ordinance that bars private individuals from exhibiting dangerous, wild animals such as tigers
http://bigcatrescue.org/2008/hearing-delayed-on-truck-stop-tiger/

February 17, 2009 Iberville Parish Council Meeting
The council voted 11-1 to allow Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin, to keep Tony — a decision that directly opposes parish ordinances restricting private ownership of exotic and dangerous animals.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,495805,00.html

February 28, 2009
Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. vetoed a parish ordinance the council approved on February 17, 2009 to allow a Mr. Sandlin to continue keeping a tiger at his place of business. In his veto message, Ourso wrote that the ordinance the council passed by a vote of 11-1 was deficient because it failed to provide “for permitting conditions to ensure the safety of the general public and the health and welfare of the tiger.”
http://savethetigers62.blogspot.com/2009/02/parish-leader-vetoes-bill-to-allow.html

March 17, 2009 Iberville Parish Council Meeting
The Iberville Parish Council voted Tuesday (March 17) to allow Tony the Tiger to stay at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, but only if an upgrade of his habitat will be made.
http://www.postsouth.com/archive/x108134875/Parish-Council-outlines-conditions-for-truck-stop-to-keep-tiger

Amended Ordinance: http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/revised-ordinance/

Mr. Sandlin then had to obtain a permit from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. A statement from the LDW&F large carnivore manager Maria Davidson read: ”It is the Department’s position that private possession of tigers poses a significant hazard to public safety and is detrimental to the health of the animal. Prolonged confinement is by its nature stressful to tigers and proper long-term care by experienced persons is essential to the health of the animal.”
http://www.examiner.com/x-16570-New-Orleans-Pet-Rescue-Scene-Examiner~y2009m8d16-Followup-on-Tony-the-Tiger-in-Grosse-Tete

Contrary to this statement, on December 14, 2009, the LDW&F granted the permit to Mr. Sandlin which allows him to keep Tony on display 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the truck stop.
http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/ldwf-grants-permit-to-tiger-truck-stop-12-29-2009/

In 2010, major organizations supported Tony: a WSPA sponsored petition gathered over 40,000 signatures; on November 22, 2010 , The Animal Legal Defense Fund petitioned the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries objecting to the permit renewal. Included in the petition were expert statements testifying to the detrimental effects physically and mentally to Tony by keeping him at the truck stop. Legal issues, such as Tony being illegally owned per the 1993 Iberville Parish ordinance, were addressed as well. The World Wildlife’s Fund’s report Tigers Among US included Tony in their interactive map, change.org pushed Tony’s petition and also showcased his story and Big Cat Rescue of Tampa Florida advocated for Tony and his relocation to an accredited big cat sanctuary. Carole Baskin, CEO & Founder of BCR, spoke on behalf of Tony on ”Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell” and BCR has continually networked Tony’s story, produced videos of Tony, and issued an action alert for Tony’s supporters to sign which reached key decision makers regarding the permit renewal. BCR’s offer of a permanent home for Tony at their sanctuary was refused by Tony’s owner Michael Sandlin. Despite people worldwide objecting to the permit renewal and the support of the aforementioned organizations, The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries renewed their permit on December 14, 2010, allowing Mr. Sandlin to keep and display Tony.
July 2010 marked Tony’s tenth year of life as well as ten years at the truck stop. A captive tiger’s lifespan with the proper medical care, diet, habitat and enrichment is 15 to 20 years. Tony lives amid the noise and fumes of car and trucks continually, and his primary dwelling is a concrete and steel enclosure. He has no real opportunity to run, swim and receives little enrichment. His health, safety, welfare and quality of life are of great concern to many people all over the world. Accredited big cat sanctuaries stand ready to provide a permanent home for Tony. The Free Tony The Tiger Campaign is committed to relocating Tony to such a sanctuary so he may live the rest of his years in peace and with the care and respect this magnificent cat deserves.

More links for Tony:
Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Site For Tony: www.aldf.org/tony

and the Link To This Post:

5. An easy way to contact the newspaper media about Tony can be found at: http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/dbq/media/ Choose Louisiana, and then 5 newspaper contacts. Suggested newspapers: Advocate, American Press, Daily Advertiser, Shreveport Times, Times-Picayune. These are 5 of the largest newspapers (in terms of circulation) in Louisiana. Click on “compose message,” then select “compose your own letter” and click “next step.” You will then be able to write your letter about Tony to these 5 newspapers.
6. Have a Twitter account? Tweet for Tony. You never know who will pick up on Tony’s story.
7. Louisiana television media contact list: http://www.mondotimes.com/world/usa/tv.html?state=18 Major stations like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC in Baton Rouge are suggested to contact.
8. Major media contact information for CNN, ABC, etc, can be found at: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=111
9. Jane Velez-Mitchell featured Tony’s story on her show “Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell” on November 12, 2010 http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/from-issues-with-jane-velez-mitchell-tiger-tug-of-war/ Please contact the show and ask for a follow-up on Tony now that the LDWF issued their permit. Use this online contact form: http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form5.html?106 or this E-mail: jane@cnn.com On Twitter: http://twitter.com/issueswithjvm



ALDF:
Email: info@aldf.org
Reference: http://www.aldf.org/tony
WSPA:
Email: wspa@wspausa.org
Online contact form: http://www.wspa-usa.org/pages/1976_supporter_inquiry_form.cfm
Reference: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/460/714/941/
WWF:
Online contact form: http://worldwildlife.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/worldwildlife.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php
Reference: http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/tigers/captive-tigers/index.html
Accredited sanctuaries are willing to give Tony the home and care he needs and deserves. It is imperative that Tony be relocated to such a sanctuary where he will have the opportunity to receive a life of peace and respect. The average life span of captive tigers who receive proper care is 15 to 20 years; for 10 years, Tony has been subjected to the detrimental elements of the truck stop, received inadequate care, and has been exploited as a roadside attraction. The lack of concern for his health and welfare is disturbing and shameful.

For Tony, please take a few minutes and participate in the above actions, and for the thousands of other privately owned tigers in the United States see this action alert from The Animal Legal Defense Fund: http://www.aldf.org/article.php?id=1801 and share this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLPJ3iR-ezg

Keep Roaring for Tony and these great cats who deserve our respect, protection and our advocacy on their behalf. Thank You.