In May, responding to a lawsuit by Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) against Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), State District Judge Michael R. Caldwell ruled that the agency must grant no new ownership permits to Tiger Truck Stop of Grosse Tete after the current one expires in December.
However ALDF hopes to convince Caldwell to revoke the current permit, so that the ten-year-old, 550-pound Siberian-Bengal can be removed sooner from what the group says are unhealthy, unsafe, and uncomfortable conditions in a roadside exhibit at the Interstate 10 business, and relocated to a suitable big cat sanctuary.
Recently the judge denied Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin's request that he be allowed to participate in court proceedings about Tony.
Sandlin told Animal Policy Examiner
(APE) that the cat is well cared-for and that animal activist groups are defrauding the public with "lies" about him in an effort to gather donations for themselves.
LDWF press secretary Bo Boehringer responded as follows to APE's request for information on why the agency asked for postponement of the hearing:
“The Department filed a Motion to Continue the hearing set for Tuesday, June 14, 2011 that would allow a reasonable amount of time to conduct discovery in order to properly determine whether plaintiffs have legal standing for purposes of the mandatory injunction hearing.
“This is a completely normal and regular part of a law suit. The date requested is indeterminate because it is unknown how long it will be before the Department receives responses to its discovery request. If granted, any party to the case can request, at any time, that the hearing be reset.”
Boehringer said that by “plaintiffs,” he means Warren Triche, Jennifer Torquati, and Brandi Sutten (Louisianans who joined with ALDF to file the lawsuit).
He said the term “mandatory injunction” refers to ALDF's motion to revoke the truck stop's current permit to keep Tony there.
The “discovery request” entails LDWF asking the plaintiffs to provide additional information to determine whether or not they have legal standing in the matter, said Boehringer.
To voice your opinion about the future of Tony the tiger, contact Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Please check this page again soon for an interview with Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin and comments from animal rescue organizations.
For previous articles about this case please click on 'Animal Policy Examiner' above.
A cofounder of AnimalBeat.org, she holds a B.A. in Environmental Science Studies and a lifelong interest in animal issues.