Tony the truck stop tiger is still waiting in his cage   Leave a comment

Tony the truck stop tiger still waits in his cage
Photo credit:
Animal Legal Defense Fund

Wildlife Headlines Examiner
May 3, 2012

Tony the truck stop tiger is an adult male Siberian/Bengal tiger that has been kept in a cage located at a Louisiana truck stop called Tiger Truck Stop.  For well over a year, advocacy groups such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has been working very hard to get Tony relocated to a suitable sanctuary.

Today, a judge in Baton Rouge ruled that ALDF did not have a legal standing to force the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to do their job.  In an attempt to get them to act upon a ruling issued late last year, the ALDF filed a lawsuit against the LDWF in the hopes of forcing them to enforce Louisiana’s ban on big cat ownership.  Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, has been without the required permit since it expired in December, 2011.

Keeping wild animals as pets is a hot topic lately; especially in the wake of last October’s Ohio massacre where 49 animals were slaughtered.  The nightmare began when the animals’ owner, Terry Thompson, released them from their cages before committing suicide.  By the time everything was over, 18 Bengal tigers, 17 lions, six black bears, 2 grizzly bears, three mountain lions, two wolves and a baboon were dead.  Fear for the public’s safety was the chief reason why the animals were not spared.

Public opinion is trending in favor of a wild animal’s welfare and people tend to be overwhelmingly in support of Tony’s relocation. Since the ALDF got involved, over 50,000 signatures have been added to their petition urging for the animal’s release.  However, the LDWF is dragging their feet and the judge even went so far as to say that the department has the discretion to decide whether or not to enforce the law.  However, the ALDF is still optimistic that once all the legal horseplay is over, the law will prevail and Tony will finally be released from the truck stop’s cage.  There is even talk of an appeal being filed on today’s ruling.  In addition, everyone is due back in court on Monday, May 7, 2012 for another hearing.  This time the judge will hear ALDF’s petition asking for an intervention in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Tiger Truck Stop and Michael Sandlin who will attempt to argue that Louisiana’s big cat ban is unconstitutional. But for now, Tony must still wait in his cage until the courts decide his fate.

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