Tony The Tiger's shared items
On December 2, 2010, Louisiana resident Mary Haik presented a very strong argument on behalf of Tony, his welfare and against the permit renewal to The LDWF Board of Commissioners, but they declined to take action in Tony’s case and said it falls under the authority of The Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries. See Mary’s statement to LDWF Commission Board: mh ldwf meeting 12.2.2010
From The Advocate article http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/latest/111242294.html?showAll=y&c=y :
Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham also said after the meeting he had not seen any evidence showing that the truck stop is breaking the law.
“Until that occurs, the truck stop is fulfilling its obligations and the permit will be renewed,” Barham said.
The LDWF, Gov. Jindal and Secretary Barham can be sure that Tony’s supporters will not give up the fight for Tony’s relocation to a proper home.
Continue to state your opposition to the permit renewal by contacting Governor Jindal and LDWF Secretary Barham. Please keep correspondence on point and respectful.
Louisiana Residents: Your support is very important – please participate.
Governor Bobby Jindal:
1-225-342-7015 and 1-225-342-0991
Secretary Robert Barham:
Sample Call In:
My name is __________________ and I am calling to object to the renewal of the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries permit to Mr. Michael Sandlin, owner of Tony The Truck Stop Tiger located in Grosse Tete Louisiana. I am extremely concerned for the health and welfare of Tony who has been used as a roadside attraction at the truck stop for 10 years. The Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries must uphold their position on privately owned tigers by revoking this permit and relocating Tony to an accredited big cat sanctuary.
For Residents of Louisiana:
My name is ___________________ and as a resident of (state your city) Louisiana I am calling to object to the renewal of the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries permit to Mr. Michael Sandlin, owner of Tony The Truck Stop Tiger located in Grosse Tete Louisiana. I am extremely concerned for the health and welfare of Tony who has been used as a roadside attraction at the truck stop for 10 years. The Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries must uphold their position on privately owned tigers by revoking this permit and relocating Tony to an accredited big cat sanctuary.
For your reference this is the LDWF position statement on privately owned tigers:
”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.”
1-225-765-2607 (may not be working/recent attempts to fax did not go through)
Governor Jindal online e-mail contact form: http://www.gov.la.gov/index.cfm?md=form&tmp=email_governor
Secretary Barham (LDWF) online e-mail contact form: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/contact
Please also try these direct e-mail addresses for Sec. Barham – so far they have not bounced back:
Any Twitter users please network the “call in week” info out using this link: http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/ongoing-call-in-to-gov-jindal-amp-ldwf-secretary-barham
You can find Free Tony The Tiger on Twitter: http://twitter.com/FreeTonyTiger
The LDWF and Governor Jindal have Twitter accounts – so give them a shout and show your support for Tony. Add the #FreeTonyTiger and @FreeTonyTiger in your tweets or retweet Tony’s posts:
Postal addresses for Governor Jindal and Secretary Barham as well as other Louisiana contacts at: http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/for-tony-louisiana-contact-list/
Emails, faxes, postal mail, phone calls are all appreciated. Please share this link and ask your friends and family to support Tony – and thanks again to everyone who cares about Tony and continues to advocate for him.
The Tiger Truck Stop
by: Teddy Hilton
Tony the tiger lives at the Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete, LA. And if you are confused, just to clarify things, this is an actual truck stop.
Tony has been kept in a concrete cage and has had to endure the loud noises and smoke from trucks that pass through.
Tony’s owner, Michael Snadlin’s permit is due and now comes the decision of what to do with Tony. There has been a law saying that it is illegal to own or display exotic animals. When Sandlin was asked to find Tony a new home, he filed a lawsuit.
Evetually the courts decided to amend the ordinance, making it legal to keep a tiger, instead of enforcing their own laws. WHAT?!
We do not agree with this one bit, we are on the side of all the people who have been trying to get Tony to the Big cat Rescue sanctuary.
Check out the video above to see Tony’s conditions. Click Here to sign a petition.
Days Left To Help Save Tony The Truck Stop Tiger
If you haven’t heard of Tony, he’s a Siberian Bengal tiger who is living in a concrete cage at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, where he is being used as an attraction for his owner Michael Sandlin, whose permit is up for renewal.
The fight over what to do with Tony has been going on for a while. Sandlin was previously violating an ordinance that prevented people from owning or displaying wild or exotic animals. It also prevented the state’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) from issuing him a permit to own Tony. When he was given 30 days to find Tony a new home, he filed a lawsuit.
Despite efforts by Tony’s supporters who want to see him moved to Big Cat Rescue’s accredited sanctuary, he lost in court. The Iberville Parish Council decided to amend the ordinance making it legal to keep a tiger, instead of enforcing their own laws, which meant Tony was stuck.
Since then, more people from around the world have sent thousands of letters and signed petitions asking the LDWF and state officials to get Tony out of there. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has also stepped in and filed a legal petition to revoke, and deny renewal of, Sandlin’s permit to keep Tony on the grounds that it is violating state and Iberville Parish ordinances and that the LDWF’s granting a permit in the first place was unlawful.
“Mr. Sandlin’s failure to keep Tony in an environment that is responsive to both his physical and psychological needs is not only inhumane—it is illegal” said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We urge the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to comply with already-existing regulations designed to protect tigers like Tony, and to end his daily torment by refusing to sentence him to another year of diesel fumes, harassment, and the unimaginable suffering of life in his lonely cage.”
Sandlin says Tony’s a member of the family and argues that he’s kept tigers there for over 20 years without incident. What he conveniently fails to mention are the tigers that he has had seized and that he has 20 years worth of USDA violations, including unsanitary feeding practices, failure to provide clean water, failure to provide adequate shelter, mishandling tigers, failure to provide veterinary care and the most recent on the list being failure to clean cages and maintain adequate sanitation in 2007.
SPEAK UP FOR TONY!
Sign the WSPA’s petition asking the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries not to renew Sandlin’s permit to keep Tony.
Send a letter to the LDWF and local and state officials.
Get more info on Tony from Big Cat Rescue.
Tony ‘the truck stop tiger’ — calls from the driver community to uncage him
Nearly two years have passed since I first wrote about efforts by animal-rights activists (post from January 2009 originally on old Channel 19 blog home on Blogger.com) to require Gross Tete, La., Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin to relocate the caged Bengal-Siberian tiger on the site of stop. It’s been there as an attraction to curiosity seekers for years, and several predecessor tigers have made the stop a sort of institution along I-10 in the state.
Since previous efforts failed (post from March 2009) to force local and state governments to enforce an existing law that, activists argued, made the stop’s display of the tiger illegal has led to a renewed effort this year, as the special permit eventually issued to the truckstop is set to expire at the end of the year.
What makes the renewed effort interesting is that some drivers have publicly joined in the call for moving the big cat. Notable among them is Allen Smith, whom regular readers of the blog will be familiar with as the proprietor with his wife, Donna, at the AsktheTrucker.com site and host of the Truth About Trucking online radio show. Smith has been writing about the dispute over the tiger for a long time himself, but he hadn’t seen the tiger in about six years when he and Donna revisited Tony back in October.
They posted a video subsequently that showed what they felt was an animal in distress, pacing around his cage, eating grass from the enclosure. What’s more, Smith has in the past praised the Tiger Truck Stop for other things, like its down-home food and service, perhaps uncommon among stops of late. But after CNN asked for footage from his visit and then ran a story that Smith felt unfairly portrayed the condition of the tiger, running an older video of the tiger, he called tiger owner Sandlin’s statements “totally false” in this November report from AsktheTrucker.com. Smith went on to say that, in the CNN report, “Sandlin states that Tony is a ‘beautiful, healthy’ tiger and is ‘not isolated.’ When asked about the ‘Do Not Throw Rocks’ sign on the outside of the cage, Sandlin counters that the only people throwing objects at Tony are the animal rights activists, and refers to them as ‘domestic terrorists.’ He also states that Tony is ‘very well taken care of‘” (italics Smith’s).
Smith ends the story with a call for a boycott of the stop: “There is something seriously wrong in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. Truckers should boycott the Tiger Truck Stop until this real issue is solved.”
Others appear to be joining him. Note the plethora of comments to Overdrive’s latest story on the Tiger Truck Stop. The last one, as of this writing, calls for the same. “Tony needs to moved away from that truckstop. I lived in truckstops for 10 years and hardly think that a truckstop enviroment is suitable for any animal” full-time, one commenter wrote. “BOYCOTT THE TIGER TRUCKSTOP UNTIL TONY IS FREE!!!!”
The World Society for the Protection of Animals sponsored petition for Tony closed on December 9, 2010 with 40,729 signatures. Thank you to WSPA for sponsoring this petition and supporting Tony. Below is the overview of the petition and letter sent to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham.
- Target: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF)
- Sponsored by: World Society for the Protection of Animals
On Dec 14, 2010 the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) decides whether or not to renew a permit that keeps Tony, a 10-year old Siberian/Bengal tiger, caged as a road-side attraction at a truck stop. Renewal of this permit means that Tony would be condemned to yet another year of suffering.
Tony has lived his entire life in a concrete and steel cage near gas pumps, subjected to fumes, noise, and traffic 24/7. He is frequently taunted by visitors and exhibits abnormal pacing behavior. Please let the LDWF know that this “attraction” is inhumane and Tony should be surrendered to a big cat sanctuary to receive the care he deserves.
Tony’s owner refuses to surrender him to a sanctuary but, with your help, we may be able to convince the LDWF that this is not his choice to make. Sign the petition to tell the LDWF not to renew the permit that keeps Tony at the truck stop.
Dear Mr. Barham,
This December, your agency will be responsible for either the renewal or denial of Michael Sandlin’s annual permit — a permit that keeps Tony the Tiger caged as a road-side attraction at the Tiger Truck Stop in Iberville Parish. I strongly urge you to deny this permit and help put an end to the exploitation of Tony.
For his entire life, Tony has lived in a concrete and steel cage near gas pumps at a filthy truck stop. He is subjected to toxic gas fumes, continuous noise and traffic, and taunts from people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These living conditions are inhumane and I am appalled that this is allowed, much less legal, in Louisiana.
Additionally, Tony represents the serious problem of privately-owned tigers who are bred and exploited as roadside attractions and entertainment under the guise of so-called “conservation.” There is no conservation if the animals are never intended for release into the wild.
[Your comment will be inserted here.]
Captive tigers, with proper care, can live up to 15-20 years. Tony, who is 10 years old, should be moved immediately to a sanctuary so he can live out the rest of his life in a peaceful setting that offers him
the psychological and physiological care he needs and deserves. I urge you to deny Michael Sandlin’s annual permit and put an end to this inhumane “attraction.”
[Your name here]
Your comments are appreciated at the Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCDeL_ujeZU
One of Tony’s young supporters, Breawna Smith, visited him and made a plea for his release in this video. Thank You Breawna for caring about Tony, visiting him and being a voice for Tony. Thanks also to Big Cat Rescue – Tampa FL for their continued support of Tony.
“Children Are The World’s Most Valuable Resource & Its Best Hope For The Future”
One of Tony’s young supporters, Breawna Smith, asked her parents to make an 8 hour drive from their Florida home to visit Tony at Tiger Truck Stop. Breawna made a heartfelt video for Tony and it was very touching when she left flowers and a note for him. Please see the video and leave your comments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCDeL_ujeZU
It is truly inspiring to see this young girl touched by Tony’s story and speaking up for him.
Thank You Breawna – you are a great friend and advocate for Tony and we truly appreciate your support of Tony.
The WSPA sponsored petition for Tony on Care2 closed on December 9, 2010 with 40, 729 signatures. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/460/714/941/
“Twilight” actor Kellan Lutz RT’d a tweet for Tony which included Big Cat Rescue’s video of Tony. http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/kellan-lutz-tweets-for-tony/
Blogging this week for Tony:
Todd Dills at Overdriveonline.com: http://www.overdriveonline.com/tony-the-truck-stop-tiger-calls-from-the-driver-community-to-uncage-him/
Ongoing Call In To Gov. Jindal and LDWF Secretary Barham: State your concern for Tony and objections to the LDWF permit renewal. All information here: http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/ongoing-call-in-to-gov-jindal-ldwf-secretary-barham/
Big Cat Rescue – Tampa FL’s Action Alert for Tony targeting key decision makers in Louisiana: http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=19391501&type=ML
Louisiana Residents: Your elected officials need to hear your concerns for Tony. As their constituents you have a strong voice about issues in your state. See this link for contact info for Gov. Jindal, your senators, congressmen, etc: http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/for-tony-louisiana-contact-list/
More ways EVERYONE can take action for Tony: http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/take-action/
Thanks to all of Tony’s supporters for your continued participation in the efforts to relocate Tony to the home and life he deserves. Don’t ever give up on him.
Advocating for Tony not only exposes Tony’s situation, but also gives a name and face to the 1,000’s of other tigers privately owned in the United States who are exploited in entertainment shows, roadside zoos and circuses, photos ops, bred for profit and are kept as pets. See Big Cat Rescue – Tampa FL’s video about privately owned tigers in the United States here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n80OuEA2f3w and sign this action alert to “End Tiger Farming In The US” here: http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=18701526&type=ML
Last Chance to Help Tony the Truck Stop Tiger
The illegal owner’s permit bestowed on Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, to keep, exhibit and exploit Tony at a smelly, dirty, noisy, toxic truck stop near Baton Rouge, LA EXPIRES TOMORROW…but it’s likely to be rubber-stamped for renewal for another terrible year UNLESS YOU TAKE ACTION TODAY!
The unique permit issued by Iberville Parish to Sandlin is predicated upon his allegedly legal ownership of Tony in 2006, but Sandlin’s ownership was NOT legal: the permit was issued by a local authority AFTER wildlife ownership laws were ALREADY CHANGED Federally, and in the state of Louisiana, disallowing private ownership dangerous carnivores like Tony. So Sandlin’s claim cannot be legally supported now:
Tony’s miserable incarceration on a cold concrete slab just a hundred feet from diesel gas pumps and the deafening traffic of big rigs and tractor trailers 24/7 is a consequence of a lack of Federal and LA state ENFORCEMENT, not lack of proper legislation.
Please CALL or EMAIL NOW – tell the following officials DO NOT RENEW MICHAEL SANDLIN’S PERMIT to TORTURE TONY THE TIGER for another minute, let alone another year!
1. Governor Bobby Jindal 866-366-1121
2. Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell 225-326-6705
3. Louisiana Department of Fisheries & Wildlife Dept. Commissioners:
Robert Barham LDWF Commission secretary 225-765-2623 Chendrick@wlf.louisiana.gov
Note from FTTT: Please also try these emails for Secretary Barham:
Steve Oats (337) 233-1100 email@example.com
Patrick Morrow (337) 948-4483 firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Sagrara (337) 893-7709 email@example.com
Ann L. Taylor 985-758-2795 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronald “Ronny” Graham 318-232-7021 email@example.com
Michael C. Voisin 985-868-7191 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Maria Davidson Large Carnivore Program Manager Louisiana Department Wildlife and Fisheries 225-765-2623 email@example.com
FTTT Note: Correct e-mail address for Maria Davidson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria’s boss: Fred Kimmel 225-765-2355 email@example.com
If you can manage, please send a copy of one of your emails to Tony’s legal reps:
Lisa Franzetta Director of Communications Animal Legal Defense Fund firstname.lastname@example.org
AND FINALLY…for more info:
and to sign the Change.org petition: http://animals.change.org/petitions/view/urge_the_ldwf_not_to_renew_tiger_truck_stop_permit
Notes From Free Tony The Tiger:
This post above was just released in Big Cat Rescue’s (Tampa FL) December 2010 AdvoCat Newsletter.
See the complete newsletter here: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/000news/Advocat/2010/advocat201012.php
Please Take Action For Tony! There is an ongoing call in for him as well. See the links below for more information and Big Cat Rescue’s post has more contacts to voice your objections to regarding the LDWF permit renewal.
Additional contact information for Secretary Barham, Governor Jindal, etc. can be found at these 2 links:
From FTTT: It is with deep sadness and disappointment to report that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries renewed their permit to Tony’s “owner” Michael Sandlin on December 14, 2010. Please visit the link for the article from The Advocate http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/latest/112048634.html and post your comments there to continue to show your support and objections to the renewal.
This is truly disappointing and heartbreaking, but it cannot and will not stop us. We must continue our fight for Tony and work towards relocating him to an accredited big cat sanctuary where Tony will have the home, life, care and respect he deserves. Please don’t give up on Tony.
State: Truck stop can continue live tiger exhibit
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS shot on 12-2-10. The Bengal tiger on display at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La., reclines in a grassy area in his cage Thursday afternoon.
Despite a strong push from animal-rights activists, the state has granted a truck stop owner a permit allowing him to continue exhibiting a live tiger as a roadside attraction at his Grosse Tete business.
The permit issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries allows Tiger Truck Stop to keep Tony, a 10-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, on display throughout 2011.
Tony is the last privately owned big and exotic cat in the state, Wildlife and Fisheries press secretary Bo Boehringer said Thursday.
The permit was required after a 2006 legislative action gave regulatory authority over private ownership of potentially dangerous animals to Wildlife and Fisheries, Boehringer said.
The legislation prohibited private ownership of big cats, but allowed people who already owned the animals before 2006 to be “grandfathered” as long as they went through a permit process to keep their animals, state officials have said.
There were four privately owned tigers living in the state when the Legislature acted in 2006, Boehringer said.
The owners of three of those tigers opted to have the cats moved to Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio, he said.
Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin opted to keep Tony at his business and go through the permitting process, Boehringer said.
Sandlin had until this month to provide the state with proof of liability insurance, a written plan detailing emergency steps to take in case the tiger escapes and a health certificate from a licensed veterinarian, Wildlife and Fisheries records show.
Agency officials last made an unannounced visit to check on the tiger’s welfare on Dec. 9, Boehringer said.
The agency will continue the surprise visits throughout 2011 to ensure the tiger is healthy and has adequate food and water, he said.
The issuing of the permit comes about a month after animal-rights activists began ramping up efforts to have the tiger removed from the truck stop and placed in a sanctuary specializing in caring for big cats.
Throughout November, activists have been posting messages on blogs, calling on the public to petition the state not to renew the permit.
On Nov. 12, animal-rights activists sparred with Sandlin over Tony’s captivity on the CNN news program “Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell.”
The next day, activists posted a picture on Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Facebook page. The picture shows the tiger displayed on a video board in Times Square in New York City with the caption: “Tiger Truck Stop Continues to Fuel Public Outrage.”
Nine days later, the Animal Legal Defense Fund started an online petition to keep the permit from being renewed.
On Dec. 2, Mary Haik, an advocate for the tiger, made an impassioned plea to Wildlife and Fisheries commissioners asking them, to no avail, to intervene in the matter.
The tiger also gained some notoriety this summer when internationally known animal-rights activist Anthony Marr paid the tiger a visit during his six-month “Compassion for Animals Road Expedition.”
Standing outside the tiger’s cage, Marr called Tony’s captivity “shameful,” adding that it is a “blight on the face of Louisiana.”
Sandlin, the truck stop owner, could not be reached by phone for comment Thursday, but has said in the past that Tony is well cared for, healthy and happy.
Sandlin has also said he will consider placing Tony in an animal sanctuary as the tiger ages.
“This is the only home Tony has ever known,” Sandlin has said.
Once again the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has shown their lack of concern for Tony’s health, welfare and LIFE by renewing this permit to Mr. Sandlin. While this is wrong on so many levels, politically, legally, ethically and morally – a fact that cannot be denied is: A TIGER – an apex predator – is being exploited at a truck stop. How can anyone believe this is acceptable, let alone a proper environment for this tiger? What about public safety? The LDWF was petitioned by the Animal Legal Defense Fund who presented a very strong case on behalf of Tony which included 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. Still the LDWF chose to ignore this as well as the pleas and concerns from people all over the world for Tony and issue the permit. This whole situation is truly disturbing, especially when Mr. Sandlin has stated in a previous Advocate article: “Sandlin said he will consider moving Tony to an animal sanctuary only when the 10-year-old tiger gets too old or too sick to be exhibited.” Captive tigers with proper care can live 15 to 20 years – how many years does Tony have left after living all of his 10 years at the truck stop with inadequate care, an improper habitat, and the constant noise and fumes from trucks and cars 24/7? This permit renewal by no means deters Tony’s supporters from continuing to advocate for him, his relocation to an accredited sanctuary, and for the life, care and respect Tony deserves.
Everyone’s dedication and support of Tony is truly appreciated. This collaborative effort has given Tony’s story and Tony a strong voice. We have clearly shown how much we care about Tony and disapprove of this exploitive display and the injustice imposed upon this beautiful cat. With the renewal of the permit, they will continue to hear our outrage.
Show your support for Tony and your objections to this decision by contacting LDWF, Gov. Jindal. Sec. Barham, etc. Contact info: http://ow.ly/3rd87
Inasmuch as this decision is very disappointing as well as angering, don’t be discouraged. Please don’t give up on Tony.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”