November 3, 2011 | by: Jill Dunn
Tony the Tiger must leave the Louisiana truck stop bearing his name after activists won an extensive legal battle for his removal Nov 2.
Judge Michael Caldwell of the East Baton Rouge District Court ruled in favor of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which began litigation in April against Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin.
State officials must revoke his permit to keep the Bengal-Siberian mix and are prohibited from issuing a new permit, the ALDF said. Last May, the district court granted its request for a permanent injunction against Louisiana renewing Sandlin’s permit.
But in August, a state appeals court ruled Sandlin and his business must be named as defendants in the lawsuit and ordered a new trial, vacating the trial court’s earlier decision.
Tony was a few months old in 2000, when Sandlin brought it to the truck stop located west of Baton Rouge. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission annually has renewed Sandlin’s permit after the truck stop owner was grandfathered in when the state began banning private ownership of big cats in 2006.
The truck stop has kept tigers for more than two decades and has posted statements on its website charging that activist have lied about Tony’s living conditions.