Roar For ♥Tony♥: PETA Response Regarding Tony 7.14.2010
This is the “updated” reply PETA is responding with when people inquire about Tony.
Thank you for contacting us with your concerns about the Tiger Truck Stop. We have campaigned against this roadside hellhole for many years. We have filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and state officials, and have written countless letters and worked with local activists in an effort to get the tigers “retired” (there used to be several tigers in 2 different locations). We wrote to the owner of the truck stop asking him to relinquish the tigers to a sanctuary; we offered to help pay the costs. We’ve had this as an action alert on our Web site.
After years of complaints, in July 2002, the USDA charged the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, Michael S. Sandlin, with violating the Animal Welfare Act in the areas of veterinary care, handling and housing. The violations cited over three years included having an insufficient number of trained employees and keeping the tigers in unsound facilities. An inspector also found the cats had no veterinary care program and improper nutrition. Mr. Sandlin paid a $1,000 fine and was ordered not to possess or exhibit more than two exotic cats. As a result, Sandlin decided to give up three of his four tigers to a facility in Tennessee. At this time, there is one tiger—Tony—still on display in Louisiana.
Wendell Sandlin (Michael’s father), owner of the Tiger Travel Plaza in Fort Hancock, Texas, relinquished the 4 tigers he had on display to a sanctuary. In June 2003, he agreed to relinquish his own USDA license for 3 years and was assessed a $7,500 fine, a fine that was suspended if he didn’t violate the AWA for 3 years.
The simple fact remains that just about anyone can have exotic animals as pets or for use as props. For the most part owning an exotic cat, bear, or other naturally free-roaming animal is as simple as applying for a state permit. Many state departments of wildlife have the most minimal requirements for keeping these animals. Louisiana is no exception.
In 2009, after months of aggressive campaigning to get Louisiana officials to order Michael Sandlin to give up Tony, they did the exact opposite. On February 17, 2009, the Iberville Parish Council voted to allow Michael Sandlin to keep Tony at the truck stop. While they did impose conditions on “improving” Tony’s care, this action opened the door for Sandlin to qualify for a state permit from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which granted him one in December 2009.
We are disappointed to say the least.
We are asking people to strongly voice their objections to Michael Sandlin receiving a state permit. Please drop a note to:
Robert Barham, Secretary
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
2000 Quail Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Thank you again for your concern.
Yours for the animals,
Animals in Entertainment Campaign Writer
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Here is the only other PETA reference found on their website with respect to Tony from November 25, 2008: