We have all heard of “Tony the Tiger”, but have you ever heard of “Tony the truck stop tiger?” Tony the truck stop tiger is a ten year old Siberian- Bengal tiger and he is the current attraction at a local truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. Tony has been caged at this truck stop for the past ten years and alone for the past seven years. Tony’s home consists of diesel fumes, loud trucks, and not to mention the harassment of the tourists that come through there day and night.
Tony’s cage is nothing but cement and bars; there is no homey feel to this cage for a tiger. Being in a closed cage with nowhere to run can cause stress on a tiger creating him to pace back and forth. In doing this it can cause the pads on his feet to wear down and become sore and injured. If tigers are caged in they at least need room to run around and stretch their legs as well as a pool to bathe in on hot days; there also needs to be trees for shade and places to hide just as if they were in the wild. Although tigers do live longer in captivity a truck stop is no place for a tiger to be. There is no telling what the fumes are doing to the tiger as well as the stress he is under.
“Michael Sandlin, the owner of Tony and the truck stop, has been cited by the USDA due to violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including a lack of proper sanitation and improper feeding practices” (Animal Legal Defense Fund).
“On April 11, 2011, ALDF filed a lawsuit against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and its secretary Robert Barham, arguing that he violated state law in granting a permit allowing Sandlin to exhibit Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop” (ALDF).
“On Friday, May 6, District Judge R. Michael Caldwell of the East Baton Rouge District Court granted the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) request for a permanent injunction against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), preventing them from renewing the annual permit that allows Michael Sandlin to keep Tony as of this December 14” (Care2).
Although Tony doesn’t know it there are people all over the world are fighting for his freedom. Even though he will be free on December 14, 2011 people are still fighting for him to be freed now! ”The ALDF plans to work with the LDWF to find the best home for Tony and will make recommendations on sanctuaries where Tony can live out the rest of his days in an environment that can actually meet his needs” (Care2). We are all looking forward to the day that Tony the Truck Stop Tiger will be able to leave the truck stop and all those harmful fumes and loud noises behind for a new life full of nature and those wild tiger adventures ahead of him.
Animal Legal Defense Fund: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5154/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6207
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