Remembering Tony   Leave a comment

One year ago today we lost our beautiful tiger “friend” Tony. I cannot begin to express how special Tony is to me, and how much I love and miss him. I learned so much from Tony about captive tigers and big cats. Tony inspired me to find my voice and become an advocate not only for him but for other issues regarding animals as well.

I always called Tony “The Ambassador” for captive tigers and big cats – to me he always will be. His story and the serious issue of captive tigers and big cats in the United States was known globally.

Each time I visited Tony I promised him we would never give up on him…and we never did. Tony had friends all over the world who cared about him and supported his
release to a reputable big cat sanctuary. He had an awesome legal team, The Animal Legal Defense Fund, who took on his case back in 2010 and brought it to court in 2011. They still are fighting in Tony’s memory to uphold Louisiana’s Big Cat Ban so no other tigers can be exploited as Tony was for all of his 17 years at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. ALDF’s work to protect animals and their rights is so important. Please visit them at aldf.org to learn more about this incredible group of dedicated people who always were there for Tony and to answers all of my questions regarding Tony and his case.

I know we all wished Tony would have had a wonderful sanctuary home, we were so close so many times with the court decisions in Tony’s favor finding the permit issued by LDWF illegal, but sadly appeals caused the case to drag on for years. I like to think that Tony is finally “free” from his concrete and steel bar prison and our majestic striped king is running in tall grass and swimming in crystal blue lakes.

Thank you to these sanctuaries for their support as well:

Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, FL
Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone MN,
The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, CO and
WildCat Ridge Sanctuary in Scotts Mills OR

To ALL of Tony’s amazing friends:
THANK YOU for caring and for your support and love.

We ROARED For Tony…We NEVER Gave Up.

” T ” ~ I will never forget you. Your spirit is with me always. I love you beautiful boy. #FreeTonyTiger

🌈 💙 🐯 💙 🌈

Posted October 16, 2018 by Free Tony The Tiger in Uncategorized

Tribute to My Little Tiger Tony   Leave a comment

Image may contain: cat and indoor

Tony Cat during ALDF’s Tiny Tigers For Tony Campaign

Apologies for the absence…recently I lost my own “little tiger” ~ my beautiful cat coincidentally named Tony. Back in 2008 a very good friend found Tony Cat’s adoption article in a local newspaper, (he was already named Tony by the shelter.) I read Tony’s story and once again felt fate brought me a very special boy. I adopted Tony Cat on September 3, 2008 and we shared almost 10 years together. I was truly blessed to know and share a life with this kind gentle soul. I like to believe my Tony Cat is with his “big cousin,” our beloved Tony the Tiger.

There is not a day that goes by where I don’t think of Tony the Tiger…I love this tiger and I’m so thankful I got to visit him and tell him how much he was loved by his friends and how hard we were all trying to help him. What a beautiful, majestic boy. Tony truly was and always will be the ambassador for captive tigers – he was known world-wide, and raised tremendous awareness to the issue. I’m sorry Tony never got a wonderful sanctuary home.

If you haven’t done so, please sign Animal Legal Defense Fund‘s petition to Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin at: https://act.aldf.org/page/6167/petition/1

If you ever visited Tony and have pictures you’d like to share please e-mail freetonythetiger17@gmail.com

One again thank you for your support and understanding.

Camel now at famed truck stop outside Baton Rouge, but owner in fierce fight for another tiger   Leave a comment

From Animal Legal Defense Fund:

“No wild animal deserves to follow in (Tony’s) steps. An environment like a truck stop with loud noises and gas fumes completely fails to meet any wild animal’s mental and physical needs” – Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells

Our legal battle to prevent the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop from obtaining another tiger continues. In the meantime, we are closely monitoring any developments at the Louisiana truck stop.

To read more about our work to uphold Louisiana’s Big Cat Ban, head to: https://aldf.org/case/upholding-lousianas-big-cat-ban/

Direct Link to Following Article: https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/article_d1c42178-8d1c-11e8-b617-7f0c185d8cfe.html

Camel now at famed truck stop outside Baton Rouge, but owner in fierce fight for another tiger
BY LEA SKENE | lskene@theadvocate.com

Caspar the camel has taken the place of Tony the tiger — for now.

With state laws preventing him from obtaining another exotic cat after Tony’s death in October, the owner of a landmark Iberville Parish truck stop says he intends to continue fighting for what he considers the tiger’s rightful successor. Animal rights groups have expressed adamant opposition, and the conflict is playing out in court.

In the meantime, Michael Sandlin has settled for Caspar, who was moved into Tony’s old enclosure earlier this week. Sandlin said the camel is five months old but is nonetheless large because “they grow up fast.”

The camel came with another baby exotic animal: a coati, which is a member of the raccoon family native to South and Central America. His name is Cody and he’s two months old.

Sandlin said he might bring in more animals in the coming months as he is considering expanding his facilities and creating a petting zoo attraction for children, starting with “Caspar the friendly white camel.”

A 2006 state law bans private ownership of large and exotic cats but Tony was grandfathered in because he had been living at the truck stop since 2001.

In addition to giving people more reason to visit the truck stop, Sandlin said, the new animals at his site send a message to the groups that he believes have unfairly targeted him with false accusations surrounding the living conditions of his tiger exhibit, which opened in 1984.

“I think this shows that we’re not quitters and that we don’t just let the state or anyone else come in and run over us,” Sandlin said. “I hate to see that exhibit sitting empty when there could be something there for people to enjoy. … I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world — seeing the excitement on children’s faces when they get up close and personal with these animals.”

But the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a national organization that has taken the lead in legal opposition to Sandlin’s tiger exhibit, said replacing one animal with another doesn’t solve the problem.

“No wild animal deserves to follow in (Tony’s) steps,” Executive Director Stephen Wells said in a statement on Saturday. “Wild animals do not belong in captivity. An environment like a truck stop with loud noises and gas fumes completely fails to meet any wild animal’s mental and physical needs.”

Tony was euthanized in October at age 17 after experiencing kidney failure. He had moved to the truck stop when he was six months old and spent the rest of his life there. Tigers typically live between 14 and 18 years in captivity.

Sandlin spoke heatedly in an interview Saturday and firmly disputed the claims that Tony experienced a poor quality of life because of where he lived.

“Are we going to start taking people’s children away if they don’t live in a mansion?” he said, acknowledging the differences between Tony’s enclosure and LSU’s tiger habitat while challenging the idea that one is humane and the other isn’t.

Sandlin said the advocates fighting him in court are taking their arguments too far without reasonable consideration of the animals they purport to defend — arguments that members of the public and state legislators have taken to heart.

“I resent living in this state that turns small business owners into criminals overnight and tries to take their personal property without compensation,” he said. “I feel it’s tyrannical and hypocritical, and I resent that.”

A state judge is set to rule in coming months on the legality of Louisiana’s big cat ban in response to a lawsuit from Sandlin, which holds that the ban is unconstitutional. Attorneys for the state and the Animal Legal Defense Fund maintain it’s legal. The 2006 law forbids anyone other than colleges, sanctuaries, zoos, wildlife research centers and scientific organizations from possessing big exotic cats.

At a hearing in April, Sandlin’s attorneys argued that Sandlin is “the true sanctuary” because “it’s not for economic reasons at all. He has a true love for these animals.”

That case is the latest of several over the past decade as animal rights groups sought to get Tony removed from the truck stop because they believed he wasn’t receiving adequate care.

Sandlin is hopeful the judge will rule in his favor. But he is also willing to branch out with other animals in the meantime, in part to maintain his license that allows him to keep exotic animals of any kind.

Sandlin said Caspar is a name of Persian origin that means “keeper of the treasure” — which he said could refer to the camel’s role in holding down the tiger enclosure until the business is graced with another striped predator.

“There was a lot of love and community here and I find it’s tragic that for the first time in 30 years, there’s not tiger living in Grosse Tete. But I have not given up and I’m hoping that this situation will be corrected,” Sandlin said. “It’s still Tiger Truck Stop, not camel truck stop.”

More Links:

Baton Rouge judge to rule on state’s big cat ban as Grosse Tete truck stop pushes for new tiger

Truck stop owner plans to pursue another tiger, stuff Tony for display; critic calls that ‘disrespectful’

Tony, the Grosse Tete truck stop tiger, euthanized after spending 17 years as roadside attraction

Are big cats ‘individuals’? Animal rights group fighting for records in truck stop tiger case

Tony the Tiger Case Update from ALDF : July 18, 2018   Leave a comment

From FTTT:
We will always be thankful for Animal Legal Defense Fund‘s dedication to Tony and for their relentless efforts in trying to secure his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary. Thank you ALDF for continuing to honor Tony by fighting on in his memory to ensure no other tigers are subjected to being a roadside attraction at Tiger Truck Stop. You will always have the support of Tony’s friends.

Repost from ALDF:
Like many of you, we are still mourning Tony’s passing last October. Tony was a Siberian-Bengal tiger held captive in the Tiger Truck Stop parking lot in Grosse Tete, Louisiana for years. Despite his tragic death, the Animal Legal Defense Fund continues to fight on in his memory.

Today we filed an appeal of a decision that mistakenly found that Tony could not be considered an “individual” under the Freedom of Information Act. We are challenging the decision in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to ensure that animals like Tony will be protected by the Freedom of Information Act and people have speedy access to crucial information when an animal’s safety is in jeopardy.

For more information about the lawsuit, visit https://aldf.org/article/animal-legal-defense-fund-sues-usda-for-denying-tony-the-tiger-is-an-individual-protected-by-foia/

Urgent Action via The Animal Legal Defense Fund!   Leave a comment

Animal Legal Defense Fund - Action Alert

Tony, a majestic Siberian-Bengal tiger, spent 17 years in a cage as a roadside attraction in the parking lot of a Louisiana gas station called the Tiger Truck Stop.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed multiple lawsuits in an effort to get Tony moved to a sanctuary. But Tony died while still trapped at the Tiger Truck Stop before these cases were resolved.

Michael Sandlin, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, has made a business of exploiting tigers like Tony for decades. He was cited for violating the Animal Welfare Act by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) repeatedly — and was forced to give up all of the tigers in his custody except one: Tony. We hoped Tony would be the last — but Sandlin is attempting to obtain more tigers — and we need your help to stop him.

Please sign our petition now demanding that Michael Sandlin give up his efforts to obtain another tiger.

https://act.aldf.org/page/6167/petition

A truck stop is no place for a tiger. In the wild, these animals range over hundreds of miles, living in a diverse range of habitats that include grasslands and tropical forests. And though most can’t be returned to the wild after captivity, they deserve to live in sanctuaries that provide extensive space, a natural setting, and the enrichment they need to stay healthy.

Sign our Petition

It is clear that the Tiger Truck Stop cannot provide an adequate home for a tiger. Don’t let another tiger suffer like Tony did. Can I count on you to add your voice to this important fight?

Sign our petition today and tell Sandlin that a truck stop is no place for a tiger!

https://act.aldf.org/page/6167/petition

ROAR for ALDF!   Leave a comment

In Honor & Memory of Tony, we’ve joined the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s social media ambassador program ROAR!

Remote Online Advocacy Representatives (ROAR) are online partners who help ALDF network important animal issues. It’s a great way to support ALDF and the important work they do for animals.

We’re ROARING from our Twitter account @FreeTonyTiger

Learn more and join here: http://aldf.org/the-roar-program/

 

“I Am NOT Property!”   Leave a comment

We’re supporting our very good friends Animal Legal Defense Fund and their “I Am Not Property” Campaign.

Visit aldf.org/iamnotproperty for more info and to join.

Tony’s captor, Michael Sandlin, considered Tony his property.

Michael Sandlin: “They tried to take Tony away from me without compensation…that’s that’s property rights, I mean you know, he was my, he really was my legally obtained PROPERTY.”

WATCH the video below:

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