The following posts were originally on a page titled “NEWS”.
Petition For Tony 4.16.2010 CLOSED
The individuals to whom the petition was targeted to have responded and the petition will be closed. Thanks to all who signed and please continue to be a voice for Tony.
ROAR FOR TONY!!! – Please Sign Tony’s Letter 4.10.2010
Please sign Tony’s letter at: http://freetonythetiger.weebly.com/ This letter, which targets the Iberville Parish Council and Louisiana elected officials, is part of a 60 day blitz called ROAR FOR TONY!!! We are asking Tony’s friends to sign everyday.
Additional Contact Regarding ConocoPhillips 3.29.2010
I received the following e-mail from ConocoPhillips when I inquired about their postition supplying fuel to The Tiger Truck Stop. Please direct your concerns to the following instead of ConocoPhillips:
Brookshire Brothers LTD
1201 Ellen Trout Drive
Email from ConocoPhillips:
Thank you for correspondence regarding the Conoco service station, located at I-10 EXIT 139; GROSSE TETE, LA. The station you refer to is an independently owned and operated business. As such, ConocoPhillips has no direct control over the station. We are a supplier of petroleum products to wholesale distributors (marketers), who deliver these products to retail service stations. Product pricing, service, and management policies are the sole responsibility of the owner of the stations. Please feel free to contact the marketer, BROOKSHIRE BROTHERS LTD, with future questions. The contact information for the marketer is: 1201 ELLEN TROUT DR; LUFKIN, TX 936-634-8155. Thank you for giving ConocoPhillips the opportunity to review this matter. We value your business and hope you will provide ConocoPhillips with future opportunities to serve you.
Recent Video of Tony Taken March 13, 2010
The individual who is in the video was appalled at the conditions Tony was in.
FTTT NOTE: You never know who’s heart Tony’s story will reach out and touch. The following is from a blog about tattoos.
Free Tony the Tiger! 3.2.2010
I have a Google Alert set for “Year of the Tiger Tattoos” and it is amazing the amount of unexpected material that is sent your way via a Google Alert. This morning I found something that broke my heart!
No, it was not the picture on the left that broke my heart, it was the story behind it.
Tony the Tiger is a nine year old Bengal/Siberian Tiger, that lives in a totally unsuitable environment at a truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, USA.
Internationally well known charity Big Cat Rescue says:“Most people agree that a truck stop is no place for a tiger. The constant noise, exhaust fumes and taunting by the ignorant are cruel and inhumane. Billboards along the interstate tell commuters that Grosse Tete is a backwards sort of place by announcing that there is a captive tiger at the truck stop.”
Tattoo in support of the Free Tony the Tiger Campaign
If you care about this travesty and you want to do something about it, then you can do the following:
Visit the Big Cat Rescue website
Visit the Save Tony the Tiger Blog for more links and ways that you can help.
FTTT NOTE: While Tony languishes at the truck stop, another tiger in Louisiana, LSU’s Mike The Tiger, lives in a $4,000,000 enclosure. The following article refers to Mike and is in response to :
“Noce looks into getting live tiger for MU” (another opportunity to present Tony’s story in a comment.)
- Letter to the Editor: LSU tiger caretaker speaks about Mike’s life – 2.5.2010
By David G. Baker, Mike the Tiger veterinarian
Published Feb. 5, 2010
As veterinarian for LSU’s live tiger mascot, Mike the Tiger, I feel compelled to set the record straight after a letter published in your paper claimed that LSU “drugs” Mike in order to take him out onto the field for football games. Nothing could be more untrue.
Mike – and Mike alone – decides if he will attend these events. On home game days, he is offered access to his custom-made trailer. If he decides not to enter the trailer, he remains in his $4 million, privately-funded habitat, and the game goes on without him. Mike’s health and happiness is our utmost concern at LSU. That fact has been made clear repeatedly, and to suggest otherwise is irresponsible and just plain wrong.
Mike represents an important part of our veterinary medicine program. He is cared for by me and two dedicated fourth-year veterinary students, affording him constant attention and providing our students with otherwise unattainable experience. The state-of-the-art veterinary medical care Mike receives can improve and extend the life of a big cat, as evidenced by the fact that our previous mascot, Mike V, lived to be 17 years of age. Two of LSU’s tiger mascots, Mike I and Mike III, lived 19 years, and Mike IV lived 20 years 9 months and 18 days. The average lifespan for a tiger in the wild is about 8-10 years.
LSU stands behind its treatment of Mike. His habitat and lifestyle are constantly monitored to ensure his well being, and his quality of life is excellent – far better than many tigers living in traditional zoo environments. He is a huge part of LSU’s family, and is treated with all the respect a great cat deserves. In the future, we encourage critics such as those who authored the previous letter to do some research and offer fact-based complaints. No matter what your opinion on live mascots might be, suggesting that Mike VI is subjected to drugging or any other such abuse in order to force him to attend games is unfounded and inappropriate.
Dee DeSantis said:
I am opposed to using a live tiger as a mascot, in any form of entertainment, or as a gimmick. As I have stated before, it is very unfortunate that these charismatic, powerful cats are exploited in such ways.
While Mike, the LSU mascot, lives in a $4,000,000 enclosure, some other tigers, such as Tony, a 9 year old Siberian/Bengal tiger, suffer at a truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. Tony is “on display” 24 hours a day 7 days a week in a concrete and steel enclosure amid the noise and fumes of trucks and cars, and ignorant people taunting him. Shockingly the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries found this to be an adequate environment for him and granted the final permit Tony’s owner needed to continue this inhumane and cruel display of animal abuse. More about Tony at: http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/
Laws regarding private ownership of such exotics as tigers vary greatly from state to state. The captive tiger population in the United States escalates due to the lack of laws regarding such animals, the greed and ignorance of individuals who believe they have a right to own a tiger as a pet, others who breed for profit, and those who exploit these cats in roadside zoos and circuses.
Today there are more privately owned tigers in the U.S. then there are wild tigers. The wild tiger population continues to plummet due to poaching, lack of habitat and lack of prey. It is estimated only 3,500 tigers remain in the wild. Perhaps Mr. Noce should consider supporting ways to help save wild tigers and follow the conservation efforts of Mizzou Tigers for Tigers.
FTTT NOTE: People continue to express their outrage regarding the LDW&F decision to issue a permit to Michael Sandlin, owner of the Tiger Truck Stop.
Letter: Decision on tiger disgraces La. – 1.12.2010
Published: Jan 12, 2010 – Page: 6B
In Louisiana, where we loudly proclaim love for our tigers, how to account for Tony, the beautiful Siberian-Bengal tiger stuck for life in a barren exhibit at a dismal truck stop?
Littering the depressing exterior of his enclosure are signs — signs soliciting contributions and even a sign boasting of the many other tigers who endured life and death there, apparently for no reason other than to stoke one man’s vanity (or whatever lower instinct prevails).
This carny/owner must really wow the Iberville Parish Council, which recently bypassed consideration of the tiger and instead awarded the guy a permit to keep Tony if he met minimal requirements for the animal’s care.
More disturbing — and this should make tiger fans squirm — Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, empowered by the state Legislature, passed up its chance to enforce a decent regulation and instead grandfathered in Tony’s owner, freeing him to continue this sad situation for the rest of the tiger’s life.
These organizations engaged neither their consciences nor the volumes of information about proper habitat for big captive carnivores. To them, apparently, if this complex animal is merely kept alive, then his needs are met.
So Tony can neither die nor live. His small cement-floored cage contains only a smaller structure resembling a large dog house (heated and cooled!) and nothing else — no water feature (think of LSU’s Mike splashing and chasing around his enclosure), no vegetation, no space for this big stalker to leap and run or take more than four or five steps in any direction.
When I viewed the site, even the tiny grass yard in an adjoining enclosure was closed off to Tony. Instead of living a tiger’s life, Tony is weirdly forced by his owner and our wildlife officials to live like an incarcerated human.
Worse, the state and local officials who permit this ignorant, medieval situation are helping the owner to promote a twisted lie to every child who sees it.
Tony’s situation will become even more pathetic in light of the new tiger exhibit opening at Baton Rouge’s zoo.
Our state’s reputation suffers locally, nationally and internationally from such stupidity.
If, as Gandhi said, a nation’s greatness and moral progress can be determined by the treatment of its animals, then we need to spend lots of time in self-reflection.
Meanwhile, the bored tiger awakens, receives food, walks a few steps, turns and walks a few more. Only 10 or 12 more years to go.
Letter: Truck-stop tiger permit disgusting – 1.12.2010
Published: Jan 12, 2010 - Page: 6B
I am completely disgusted with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for issuing Michael Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop a permit to keep 9-year-old Tony the tiger locked up as a sideshow at a truck stop for the rest of his life.
I am also embarrassed for Louisiana by the number of our leaders who were contacted to help free Tony, who were in a position to do so, but refused.
Sandlin claims to love this animal, but when you truly love something, especially when it is a living, breathing, sentient being, you do what is best for him/her.
Poor Tony is kept in a too-small, barren enclosure with absolutely no enrichment. Though I am not in favor of LSU keeping a live mascot, at least Mike has a large pool and toys to provide entertainment and enrichment to his life.
Tony does nothing but pace back and forth. He has nothing to do, at all, hour after hour, day after day, year after year. An article in The Advocate states that tigers in captivity can live for up to 20 years. That’s 11 more years of NOTHING for Tony — sheer existence.
For those readers who are already yelling about your “rights” as an animal owner, please try to imagine that for even one moment.
We almost cannot comprehend it. Perhaps that is why this is so accepted among most of us — we do not take the time to really consider other creatures.
I heard Michael Sandlin say on the news that there is a big difference between animal rights and animal welfare, the one thing I’ve heard him say with which I agree. Too bad he doesn’t truly understand that statement.
Sandlin may claim that Tony is family and that he loves him, but it’s not as if he can crawl into his cage and cuddle him, play with him, and show him that love, as most of us do with our household pets. The only way to let him know how much he loves him is to let him live the best life he can in an accredited sanctuary.
I attended several of the council meetings when Tony’s fate was discussed, and I heard time and time again from Sandlin, his family, and his attorney that removing Tony would put Tiger Truck Stop in financial peril.
So keeping Tony is about love? I think not.
Fight for Tony The Tiger Freedom Continues 1.14.2010
Following up on our previous post, Truck Stop fights to keep Tony the Tiger, the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana won its battle to keep Tony the Tiger as its main attraction, as Iberville Parish Council voted 11-1 in favor of truck stop owner, Michael Sandlin. Councilman Mitchel J. Oubre said he observed about 100 visitors to Tony’s habitat in about 45 minutes, while councilman Matt Jewell added that the tuck stop employs 40 to 70 workers who could lose their jobs if customers stopped visiting the truck stop to see the famous and exotic Siberian-Bengal tiger. Thus, a few of the main reasons the council voted in favor of the owner.
Activists claim that this violates animal rights regulations, of which, Sandlin has been written up for sixteen times by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Dangers to the 550 pound animal includes:
- Constant inhalation of diesel fumes
- Living among its own waste
- Flashing lights in its face by cameras
- Aggravation by sight-seers crowding around the cage
- Living alone with no interaction of animals of its kind (Since 2003)
Furthermore, a 1993 Parish Ordinance prohibits an individual from keeping any “wild, exotic, vicious animal or reptile for display or for exhibition purposes.” Councilman Edwin “Ed” Reeves Jr. cast the only single dissenting vote, claiming that Tony “deserves a better environment than the one he has been given at the truck stop.” It is also noted by experts that these large cats experience physical damages by being kept in cages, unable to walk their average 400 miles per day as done in the wild. Also, tigers and other wild cats that are kept in cages will resort to self mutilation.
I have visited this truck stop many times while I ran over the road and never saw 100 visitors within 45 minutes, so I would call that statement a bit of a “stretch.” Tiger Truck Stop always had great food and good people to chat with, but I always felt disheartened by these beautiful animals caged up as they were, and as Tony still is.
Sandlin counters with, “He’s a pet, and at the truck stop, Tony’s with the only family he has ever known.” The fight to free the massive animal continues:
Tiger World News is another embattled in the fight for Tony’s freedom. They currently offer a petition to ask the council to enforce their own codes about the keeping of Tony the Tiger by the truck stop:
Big Cat Rescue of Tampa, Florida continues to offer the correct environmental setting for Tony, but Sandlin has stated: “They just want to steal my tiger” and that they have “Never offered to help raise money to improve Tony’s habitat.”
BIG CAT RESCUE
The battle for Tony’s freedom has been going on for years and it appears it will continue. Tiger Truck Stop offers some of the best home cooking around and whenever I visited, just good, friendly “folks.” As for this issue, I’ll be standing on the side lines watching to see how it unfolds in the future. In the meantime, freedom for Tony will have to wait.
Put A Tiger In Your Tank But NOT At The Truckstop Says Tachoblog 1.13.2010
Over here in the UK, the only people who can keep a tiger are zoos. Almost all, if not all, circuses that used to have such magnificant beasts no longer do. If you asked most UK motorists and truck drivers about a connection between driving and tigers, then they would probably all mention the use of a tiger by fuel company Esso for advertising purposes, ‘Put a tiger in your tank’ and all that…
However, in America, certain people do keep ‘pet’ tigers. One (in)famous example of this is Michael Sandlin, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. Tony the Tiger (pictured above in a photograph by Patrick Dennis of The Advocate) is the last of four tigers that Sandlin had and pressure is being applied to have Tony moved somewhere more suitable.
According to many, the truck stop is popular thanks to its good food, however many feel that the place is not suitable for a Bengal Tiger. A comment by Tigress62 on the AskTheTrucker website sums it up well ‘Tony is exploited 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and breathes in the fumes and endures the noise of trucks and cars, as well as the taunting of ignorant people. Surely this is not a healthy environment for him. How can anyone condone such living conditions as these for any animal?’
There are now several websites campaigning on Tony’s behalf, if you want to find out more then visit Free Tony The Tiger.
Coming from a country that’s famed for its love of animals, Tachoblog thinks that the time for Tony to be moved somewhere better for him is long overdue and hopes that this will happen very, very soon.
Dee De Santis says
Thank you for posting the information about Tony. People all over the world voiced their concern for Tony but unfortunately it fell upon deaf ears and cruel hearts. On December 14th, 2009 the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries granted the permit to Tony’s owner Michael Sandlin and Tony remains at the truck stop. I will continue to speak out for Tony and voice my concern for him as well as my objection to the decision by the LDW&F. Please visit http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/ for more information and links to Tony’s petition, pictures, video and FaceBook groups. “The greatest of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
New Petition For Tony 1.9.2010
There is a new petition for Tony asking the Iberville Parish Council to enforce their codes regarding the keeping of exotic animals. Please sign and share the link:
I strongly believe we must keep Tony’s story and his suffering at the truck stop in the eyes and minds of the public.
Please don’t give up the fight for Tony.
“The greatest of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Pictures of Tony Taken 12.20.2009
Grosse Tete truck stop gets permit to keep tiger – 12.29.2009
By AMY WOLD
Advocate staff writer
Published: Dec 29, 2009
The Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has received a permit to keep Tony the tiger, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
The permit was needed after a 2006 legislative action gave regulatory authority over private ownership of potentially dangerous animals, such as primates, wolves, bears and big cats, to the agency, said Maria Davidson, the department’s large carnivore program manager.
“These are not animals that need to be in the private sector,” Davidson said.
The legislation prohibited private ownership of the animals, 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 current animals, Davidson said.
There were three people in the state who owned big cats and two of them decided to not keep the animals, Davidson said. The animals were taken to other facilities, she said.
The third person, Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin, wanted to keep his Siberian-Bengal tiger and started work on getting the permit, Davidson said.
However, Iberville Parish officials told Wildlife and Fisheries officials during that process that there was a parish ordinance prohibiting large cat ownership, Davidson said.
Because one of the state agency’s requirements for a permit was that it had to meet local regulations, Sandlin’s permit could not be processed, she said.
Then in March, the Iberville Parish Council approved an ordinance that allowed Sandlin’s tiger to stay with conditions, such as carrying liability insurance, training staff on how to deal with any tiger escape and specifying that the tiger’s diet be approved by a licensed veterinarian.
That opened the path for Sandlin to move forward with getting a “Possession of Potentially Dangerous Wild Quadrupeds, Big Exotic Cats and Non-Human Primates” permit from the state on Dec. 14.
Sandlin said he was prepared to take the issue all the way through the court system in order to keep the tiger. But he said it’s not right that once the tiger is gone, he can’t get another one or get the tiger a companion.
The tiger is 9 years old and Sandlin said tigers can live more than 20 years in captivity.
“Once Tony’s gone, it’s all over with,” Sandlin said. “After 22 years of exhibiting tigers and owning tigers, there’s certainly an emotional attachment.”
According to an inspection letter from Wildlife and Fisheries in September, Sandlin was required to do a number of things before a permit would be granted.
Those steps included raising the perimeter fence from 7 feet to 8 feet, changing the insurance policy, updating an escape plan and installing a safety sign that says “Danger, Wild Animal on Premises.”
The permit has been controversial with animal rights and welfare activists and others who object to the tiger being kept at a truck stop joining the debate.
Davidson said her department received many e-mails from around the world asking the department not to grant the permit.
“I am very sorry to hear that the tiger will continue to live in that miserable situation,” Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary in Tampa, Fla., wrote in an e-mailed response to questions Monday.
However, the facility meets the department requirements, Davidson said.
Despite allegations of unsanitary conditions and of the tiger being unhealthy, Davidson said that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“I stopped by there periodically just to see,” Davidson said.
The tiger is being fed a standard zoo diet, is in decent health and has an enclosure with air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter, she said.
“I know if we felt those conditions were not humane or not up to standard, then we wouldn’t have issued a permit,” Davidson said.
Tony Mentioned In Big Cat Rescue Article – 12.18.2009
Big Cat Rescue in the spotlight for two awards
December 18, 11:00 AM New Orleans Pet Rescue Scene Examiner Teresa Rowell
Big Cat Rescue, a refuge for more than 100 exotic animals in Tampa, Florida, is in the running for two awards right now.
Animal Planet will be announcing the winner of the “2009 Hero of the Year” tonight, December 18th, and Big Cat Rescue’s Scott Lope is one of the top ten finalists.
A win could mean a $15,000 animal-related trip to anywhere in the world for Lope and $10,000 for Big Cat Rescue.
Lope told the Tampa Tribune, “It would be an honor to win and it will call attention to our work here.”
Even more good news for the group was the announcement from Chase Community’s Giving contest that voters for Big Cat Rescue have earned them a place in the top 100 best charities across the country.
They were awarded $25,000 and a chance at the one million dollar grand prize.
Over the next few weeks all semi-finalists will submit their “Big Idea” for what they would use the grand prize money for and voters will return to Chase’s Facebook page January 15 to vote again for their favorite.
More Info: Big Cat Rescue has offered sanctuary for Tony the Tiger, a Bengal that has lived his entire existence in a concrete cage at a truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. If the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries denies the current owner a permit to keep the tiger, Tampa could be one choice for Tony to live out the rest of his days in dignity rather than being a road side, money-making display.
Carole Baskin says:
Scott Won the Animal Planet Hero of the Year Award. He gets at $10,000 prize to donate to the charity of his choice and Big Cat Rescue won $25,000 in the Chase Community Giving round 1 and is qualified now to win $1,000,000 in round 2. See VoteCats.com December 18, 10:59 PM
Big Cat Rescue is an awesome organization that is devoted to the care and well-being of their cats and to educating the public as to why there is such an escalating problem of captive cats. The $25,000 is a well-deserved win. I wish Scott the best of luck in the Animal Planet Hero of the Year Contest. He is dedicated, tireless and a true hero at BCR. I know Tony the Truck Stop Tiger would have a great home at BCR. Tony’s situation is so sad and tragic. I hope the LDW&F will not grant the permit so Tony can live the rest of his life with the care, respect and dignity he so deserves. December 18, 11:43 AM
Tony – December 2009 The AdvoCat Newsletter
Tony and his poem are mentioned in the December 2009 issue of Big Cat Rescue’s newsletter The AdvoCat: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/000news/Advocat/2009/advocat200912.htm
More great cat news includes:
Farewells to Cats
Big Cats in the Cloud
2009 Photo Contest
Saving Wild Cats
Hero of the Year Party
Fur Ball Thanks
Truck Stop Tiger
Sweet 16 Kiss a Lion
New Petition For Tony 12.16.2009
There is a new petition for Tony, it’s goal being to gain the interest of the Baton Rouge media in Tony’s story. Please sign and share the link.
Tony’s Petition Reaches 1,000 Signatures 12.10.2009
Tony’s petition reached its’ goal of 1,000 signatures at 9:31 am PST on December 10th, 2009.
The petition is still open. Please sign and repost the link. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/425/petition-to-request-news-update-on-tony-the-tiger
Thank you to all who have signed and for caring so much about Tony.
Special Thanks To:
Teresa from Don’t Be Cruel Sanctuary
http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/dontbecruel.html for creating the petition and for her articles about Tony and being a voice for animals at: http://www.examiner.com/x-16570-New-Orleans-Pet-Rescue-Scene-Examiner?showbio
Gracey and Joanne
Gracey and Joanne posted the link on their FaceBook page and pushed the petition to 1,000 plus names today. So many of Gracey’s fans cared about Tony and signed the petition and posted comments.
Joanne is the author of a wonderful book titled “The Tiniest Tiger” a charming story about a kitten who tries to find her way home with the help of wild cats at a zoo such as a tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah, puma, jaguar, bobcat, and ocelot. Along the way we learn interesting facts about these cats. It is a great introduction to wild cats for children. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of The Tiniest Tiger, the author’s first book, will benefit projects for the protection of endangered wild cats in Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, through the Conservation Fund of the Columbus (OH) Zoo and Aquarium. http://www.thetiniesttiger.com/
Gracey is Joanne’s beautiful adopted cat. Visit Gracey at: http://www.facebook.com/TheTiniestTiger
For her endless determination and commitment to helping free Tony from the Tiger Truck Stop.
Tony’s Petition Reaches 800 Signatures 12.5.2009
The petition requesting the media investigate the delay in the decision from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries decision regarding the denial or approval of a permit to Tony’s owner reached 800 signatures on Saturday December 5th 2009 at 6:51 PST.
If you have not signed the petition please do so at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/425/petition-to-request-news-update-on-tony-the-tiger
Repost the link and ask your friends to sign too.
We have to keep broadcasting Tony’s story so people know this poor tiger is still languishing in horrible conditions at the truck stop.