Tony the Tiger Timeline via @ALDF   1 comment

Tony the Tiger

Tony the Tiger is captive in a truckstop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, where he lives among diesel fumes with a fraction of the space he would have in the wild. The following is a timeline of the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s work to free Tony.


For a more comprehensive overview of our efforts to free Tony, check out our feature article.

Direct link:

Pictures of Tony – 9.22.2014   2 comments

Recent pictures of Tony and Tiger Truck Stop. If you visit Tony please document your visit and share your pictures and video with us. Email

Thanks again for your continued support to Tony!

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ROAR For Tony and Captive Big Cats on World Animal Day ~ October 4th   1 comment

wad tony 2World Animal Day is a special day to commemorate the respect and love we have for animals and to bring attention to the importance of animals and raise awareness for them.

It began in 1931 in Florence at a convention of ecologists as a means to highlight endangered species. Since then it has developed to include all animals, and countries around the world participate in and celebrate this day. World Animal Day is celebrated on October 4th – The Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi who is the patron saint of animals.

Tony is in our hearts and on our minds every day, but special days like this help to bring his story to more people and gain their support for his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary.

Please share this post and Tony’s event page on the World Animal Day website:

There you will find actions for Tony and captive big cats as well as links to all his social media sites.

Thanks again for your continued support of the “Free Tony The Tiger Campaign” and to the dedicated efforts of The Animal Legal Defense Fund as they continue the fight for Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary.

Dedicated to @IamSmittyKitty and His Family ~ Love, @FreeTonyTiger & The #BigGuy @TonyTiger2000   Leave a comment

The beloved Smitty


dee cheesey

Me and Cheeseburger

It has taken me some time to collect my thoughts and words for this post. Being the guardian of three adopted cats who amaze me every day, I have discovered what wonderful unique souls they are and how they completely capture your heart, enrich your life and give you unconditional love and friendship.

It all started with my first boy, Cheeseburger who will forever be my soul cat. He came into my life in 1997 and we shared 10 years together before I lost him to cancer. I was devastated and vowed I would never have another cat.

So much for that…I have since adopted three boys: Mr. Jingles, Tony Cat, and yes another Cheezeburger. They all have their stories…in time ~ maybe in another post.

Mr. Jingles ~ Cheezeburger ~ Tony Cat

Mr. Jingles ~ Cheezeburger ~ Tony Cat

Social media has been a tremendous asset in keeping Tony’s story networked with people all over the world learning about him and the serious issue of privately owned tigers and big cats in the United States. It also has formed wonderful friendships that I cherish – that being said I’d like to dedicate this post to a very special family and their amazing cat Smitty.

Tony’s emergence on Twitter came about in April 2011. Though we already had a Twitter account @FreeTonyTiger, we thought  since an escaped cobra from the Bronx Zoo could tweet…why not a tiger from a truck stop? If you follow Tony on Twitter @TonyTiger2000, you’ve undoubtedly run across the engaging conversations between the #BigGuy Tony and his “bestest” #LittleBuddy Smitty @IamSmittyKitty. The two meet up on Twitter during the week and they’re definitely quite the dynamic duo or as @LucyLiberte calls them “Double Trouble.”

tony smitty lucy

Tony ~ Smitty ~ Lucy


Since Tony isn’t very fond of truck stop grub…he and Smitty sample cuisine from different establishments – Smitty and Tony actually met on Twitter over lasagna.

The seriousness of Tony’s captivity at the truck stop is never downplayed – and Smitty is always there to give Tony encouragement and support:


Sadly we lost Smitty to a disease called cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that results in an enlarged heart. You can read more about this from Smitty’s mom on her blog:


Smitty Tweeting

Smitty Tweeting


wlf smittyWe were all devastated by the news…any one who has lost a companion knows the tremendous grief and heartache you suffer from such a loss. Our condolences and love go out to Smitty’s loving guardians and Smitty’s “sis” @IamTweeterKitty.

We are so thankful Smitty’s guardians “shared” their special little guy with us. Smitty brought a smile to all of us and we looked forward each day to his HEY EVABODDY tweet to get the Twitter conversation going. There were many a times that Smitty’s tweets made me LOL.

Smitty’s Dad made the courageous and selfless decision to keep Smitty tweeting…we’re very grateful that Smitty and Tony will be able to continue their special friendship and connect with anipals and friends worldwide.

As Tony would say: “Smitty iz da bestest #LittleBuddy a tiger cood eva haf!!”

Tony the truck stop tiger still waiting for sanctuary   1 comment

As reported by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ADLF), on June 20, 2014, a devastating turn of events occurred in the case of Tony the truck stop tiger. Advocates’ hopes that he was going to finally be allowed to go to a sanctuary were dashed. Previous articles about Tony’s situation have been published here, and you can find links to those at the end of this article.

Tony is a beautiful Siberian/Bengal tiger who has spent the last 14 years living in a small enclosure at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tate, La. Years of petitions and legal battles have been waged in an attempt to allow Tony to be sent to a sanctuary, where he can finally live in peace, far away from the incessant drone of diesel engines, the taunting by humans, and the stench of the fumes from the trucks and cars who come there 24/7. However, every time it appears there has been success, another roadblock is thrown up to keep Tony where he is.

The latest was Louisiana SB 250, signed by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, which exempted Michael Sandlin, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop from the existing laws that specifically prohibit anyone from owning a large exotic cat such as Tony. Advocates had been so hopeful that Tony was finally going to be allowed to go to sanctuary, and then this latest legal wrangling took place, which once again resulted in Tony being forced to live at the truck stop.

The ADLF has been helping in the legal battle for Tony for years, and they have never given up on him. On June 24, 2014, in response to this shocking exemption given to Sandlin, the ADLF filed yet another lawsuit. This lawsuit has been filed against The Tiger Truck Stop, Michael Sandlin as the corporate owner of that business, the State of Louisiana, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, for violation of the existing public safety and animal welfare laws.

Tony has endured this nightmare for 14 years. His entire life is spent breathing in the toxic fumes from the huge trucks and cars that are constantly coming and going from the truck stop. People taunt him, throw garbage and even rocks at him through the bars of his cage, and he has never known a moment of true peace and quiet in his entire life. This magnificent animal should never be forced to live like this, and advocates must not give up on him, no matter how long it takes to make this right.

As reported by NBC33 News, a public hearing was held on Tuesday, September 3, 2014, regarding proposed new rules that could affect Tony and the Tiger Truck Stop. These new rules by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would have restrictions on what constitutes a zoo. Based on the information contained in these new rules, the Tiger Truck Stop would not meet the criteria, and Tony would have to be released to sanctuary. It was further reported that Sandlin stated he will file yet another lawsuit against the State if these new restrictions are approved.

Sandlin has adamantly maintained that Tony is well cared for, and there are no public safety concerns. However, as any animal advocate knows, being kept in a small enclosure in the conditions of diesel fumes, constant traffic noise, and taunting by humans is not the way an exotic animal such as Tony should live. Since Tony cannot live in the wild, life in a sanctuary, where he would have a huge expanse of property in which to run, stimulation appropriate for a big cat, proper food, and the nurturing of professional caretakers is what is best for Tony. He deserves to spend what is left of his life in peace and serenity.

If you wish to add your voice for Tony, please consider even just a small donation to the ADLF to help them with this crucial legal battle for Tony. You can read more about all that ADLF has done and continue to do for Tony, as well as make a donation to help with his legal costs at the following web address:

Animal Legal Defense Fund. Click on the “Donate” button on that page.

Tony is a beautiful living, breathing being, with feelings and emotions. He deserves to finally be free of this nightmare, and know what it is like to find true peace. While he can never be sent into the wild, a sanctuary specializing in big cats will offer him the next best thing. Please help the ADLF win this crucial lawsuit for Tony. He needs the help of advocates now more than ever, so he can live out what is left of his life, as close as possible to the way nature intended, with peace, quiet, and most of all, real love.


Click here for the Animal Legal Defense Fund information on the lawsuit to free Tony.

Click here for the article: “Victory for Tony the truck stop tiger“.

Click here for the article: “Tony the truck stop tiger still waiting“.

Click here for the website: “Tony’s Story: Free Tony the Tiger“.

Posted September 17, 2014 by freetonythetiger in Uncategorized

New rules may force local truck stop to give up tiger   1 comment

new tony rules
NOTE: Video at:
POSTED: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 – 11:09pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 3, 2014 – 11:59am

The owner of Tiger Truck Stop is fighting a new set of rules that might force his to give up his main attraction.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is considering new restrictions on exotic animals and held a public hearing about them on Tuesday.

Among the proposed amendments is a change in the definition of a zoo, which would exclude Tiger Truck Stop.

“A zoo is defined as more than one species or more than one animal. Who are you targeting other than me?” asked Michael Sandlin, owner of Tiger Truck Stop.

The Grosse Tete truck stop would not meet several of the new requirements for a zoo: that it be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; that it be publicly- or municipally-owned; and that it have more than one animal.

Animal activists say the truck stop is no place for a tiger. Some of the people who attended the hearing described seeing very poor living conditions. “What I saw were several throwing rocks at Tony, and I had to intervene to stop them,” recalled Carney Anne Nasser, a Tulane Law School professor and member of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Tiger Truck Stop’s permit has survived several attempts by activists to have him moved. Employees say the fight has gotten personal.

“We’ve been threatened to be bombed. We’ve been threatened to be shot at when we leave work,” stated Melissa Macy. “That’s a terrorist action. Not an activist, that’s a terrorist.”

The proposal would also ban people from owning exotic animals, like cougars or bears, and slowly phase out private ownership of monkeys. Additionally, it gives agents more power to make unannounced inspections. “Very few people can afford the nutritional requirements of wildlife, their very specific biological needs, and certainly their environmental and housing needs,” said Hilton Cole, Director of Animal Control for East Baton Rouge Parish.

Sandlin defended the way Tony lives, both the way he’s cared for and the way visitors are protected. He claims that the truck stop, which is accredited by the United States Zoological Association, is the safest possible place for him.

“I would say, you could take it from any angle, and see that there are more accidents at AZA-accredited zoos than private zoos anywhere in this country,” he stated.

The public comment period is over for the proposal. The comments will be viewed by the secretary of the department and the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. A decision can be made either to adopt, modify, or reject the changes between the middle of October and July 2015, but sources say the decision should be made sometime this fall.

Sandlin indicated that he would file a lawsuit against the state if the proposal is enacted.

Via @ALDF: Urgent Action for Louisiana’s Animals!   Leave a comment

Reposting this important action alert from the Animal Legal Defense Fund. PLEASE visit this ink: to urge the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to adopt the proposed changes to the state’s dangerous wild animal regulations. Comments are due by this Saturday, August 30. Please share. Thank You!

Urgent Action for Louisiana’s Animals!

Next week, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will consider positive new amendments to its regulations governing the possession of big exotic cats, non-human primates, bears, wolves, and other dangerous wild animals.


These amendments will close a loophole that might otherwise enable unscrupulous exhibitors to obtain an exemption from the state’s restrictions on private possession of dangerous species. They also will allow for the Department to make key, unannounced inspections at facilities that house dangerous wild animals. While ALDF continues to seek justice and freedom for Tony the tiger, the welfare of other captive wild and exotic animals will remain at risk unless these important regulatory changes are made.

We need your help today to make sure that the Department does the right thing and adopts these critical changes!

Take Action

Urge the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to adopt the proposed changes to the state’s dangerous wild animal regulations. Comments are due by this Saturday, August 30.

Take Action Button

Spread the Word

Share this action on Facebook and Twitter using the links below, or click on the image to view the action on Facebook.


Join Us in Louisiana

If you live in Louisiana, please also join ALDF attorneys and attend next week’s hearing to speak up in support of these proposed amendments. Those who profit off of the cruel exploitation of wild and exotic animals have mobilized to oppose these important changes, so it’s critical that we have as many supporters as possible at the hearing to make our voices heard!


Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.


Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Louisiana Room
2000 Quail Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70898

Posted August 26, 2014 by freetonythetiger in Uncategorized


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