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!!!!”