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Tony ~ Always : In Memoriam October 16, 2020   Leave a comment

Three years ago, on October 16, 2017, we lost our beloved Tony the Tiger. Not a day goes by where Tony is not on my mind; he has left his massive paw prints on my heart and on the hearts of his friends around the world. For 17 years Tony was confined to a “life” as a roadside attraction at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete. Louisiana, and because of Tony and his tragic story, people learned about the serious issue of privately owned tigers and big cats in the United States.

For many years Tony had tremendous support for his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary. The legal battle for Tony’s release was led by our very good friends The Animal Legal Defense Fund who fought tirelessly for Tony. Sadly every court win in Tony’s favor for his release was met by his owner’s appeals and the case dragged on for years. I would like to once again thank The Animal Legal Defense Fund who never gave up on Tony, and who continue to advocate for captive tigers and wild animals. Learn more about ALDF’s work for captive wild animals at :

Another round of thanks to these sanctuaries who offered a home for Tony, Big Cat Rescue (Tampa FL), The Wildcat Sanctuary (Sandstone MN) and The Wild Animal Sanctuary (Keenesburg CO).

One of the best ways we can honor Tony is to support The Big Cat Public Safety Act. This federal bill addresses two of the biggest sources of abuse of big cats by ending owning big cats as pets and stopping exploitative roadside zoos from offering cub petting and photo ops. Read more about this bill and ask your Congress Members for their support at :

In Tony’s memory, all of his social media accounts remain open to network information on ways we can help animals. We hope you will continue to support them.

To ALL of Tony’s amazing friends : THANK YOU! Because of you and your support Tony will never ever be forgotten.

” T ” : I miss you handsome tiger. You are in my thoughts every day and in my heart always.

For ” T ” Always ~ #FreeTonyTiger #TonyAlways 🌈 🐯 🌈

Tony’s Photo A Winner in Tigers In America Photo Contest!   Leave a comment


I am truly honored to have this photo of Tony chosen as one of the winners in Tigers in America’s Photo Contest. I’ve always loved this photo (be it sad) because it truly captures such despondence in Tony’s eyes and soul. Tony was born in 2000, obtained as a cub and spent all of his 17 years caged at Tiger Truck Stop.Tony raised tremendous awareness to the plight of captive tigers in the United States; he had friends and supporters from all over the world who advocated for his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary, wonderful sanctuaries who offered him a home and his legal champions, Animal Legal Defense Fund who never stopped fighting for his release. Tony truly was, and always will be, “The Captive Tiger Ambassador.” Visiting Tony at the truck stop was bittersweet, but when I would leave, I always told him we’d never give up and we’d never stop roaring. In his honor and remembrance, all of Tony’s social media accounts remain active to help network actions to help captive tigers and big cats. Thank you all for remembering this very special tiger. RUN FREE ” T ” | #FreeTonyTiger #TonyAlways (Free Tony The Tiger ~ D.M. De Santis)

International Tiger Day 2020   Leave a comment

Click to support The Big Cat Public Safety Act!

International Tiger Day, or Global Tiger Day, was created at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010 and is celebrated on July 29th to raise world awareness for wild tigers and support for their conservation. Learn more about wild tigers and the efforts to protect and conserve these majestic big cats at:

An estimated 3,900 tigers remain in the wild, up from the previous estimate of as few as 3,200 in 2010. In the United States there are more than 5,000 privately owned tigers. Tiger cubs are exploited for photo ops and cub petting/holding. Tigers languish in deplorable roadside zoos; our Tony the Tiger spent 17 years as a roadside attraction at a truck stop.

One of the ways you can help captive U.S. tigers is to support legislation to ban private ownership. Ask your congress members to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act by taking action here : via Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Tony raised tremendous awareness to the serious issue of privately owned tigers in the United States. We honor and remember Tony on International Tiger Day and give a ROAR to the wonderful sanctuaries and organizations who supported his release:

The Animal Legal Defense Fund : Tony’s legal champions

Big Cat Rescue in Tampa FL

The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone MN

Wildcat Ridge Sanctuary in Scotts Mills, OR

The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keeneburg CO

We also could not let the month of July go by without acknowledging that Tony would have been 20 years old this month. While the exact date of Tony’s birth is unknown, a sign at the truck stop stated he was born in July 2000. On a personal note : I learned so much about captive tigers because of Tony and it was an honor to advocate for his release and also to visit him. He became a very special part of my life and my heart and I will never forget him. (  I MISS YOU ” T ” ) Run Free Tony #FreeTonyTiger #TonyAlways

Again, thanks to all of Tony’s friends for your friendship, love and support throughout the years. Please KEEP ROARING for captive tigers and big cats.

Tony as a cub | Sign stating Tony was born in July 2000 | Tony in 2014


Posted July 29, 2020 by Free Tony The Tiger in Uncategorized

Infamous Tiger Truck Stop Demolishes Cage That Held Tony the Tiger   Leave a comment

Challenge to the constitutionality of Louisiana’s big cat ban still in court

Courtesy of : Animal Legal Defense Fund

New Orleans, LA – After multiple lawsuits filed and fought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Tiger Truck Stop has finally stopped exhibiting animals and tore down its cages. The animals who had recently lived at the gas station have been removed, and the chain-link cages have been demolished.

The Tiger Truck Stop, the infamous gas station in Gross Tete, Louisiana, held Tony — an endangered Siberian-Bengal tiger — from the age of 6-months until his death at the age of 17 in 2017. The center of significant controversy, the truck stop’s owner, Michael Sandlin, used his political clout to circumvent one law after another — including the Louisiana big cat ban which passed unanimously in 2006. A lawsuit filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund stripped the Tiger Truck Stop of its improper permit from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries — a decision that was affirmed on appeal.

In his zeal to continue to exhibit tigers at the gas station, Sandlin sued Louisiana over the constitutionality of the state’s big cat ban. The lawsuit, which the Animal Legal Defense Fund successfully intervened in to assist in protecting the ban, remains pending for now.

“The Animal Legal Defense Fund is pleased that no additional animals will be exploited at the Tiger Truck Stop,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Though we were not able to rescue Tony in time, we have continued to fight in his memory for other captive animals who suffer at roadside zoos across the country.”

After Tony died, Sandlin acquired other animals, including a camel, a red kangaroo, and coatis — which have been relocated.

In 2019, the Animal Legal Defense Fund won a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its policy of “rubberstamping” exhibitor license renewals of roadside zoos, even when they violated the Animal Welfare Act. In 2020, the USDA released new rules stating that facilities would need to prove they are in compliance with federal, state, and local laws for renewal — another tool that will help prevent similar situations in the future and part of the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s continuing strategy to shut down roadside zoos.

A federal bill, the Big Cat Public Safety Act, has been introduced with wide support in the U.S. House of Representatives, and would eliminate private big cat ownership nationwide. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, along with a coalition of animal protection groups, supports the bill’s passage.


Missed ALDF’s Webinar “Tiger King : Questions Answered”?!   Leave a comment

If you missed Animal Legal Defense Fund​’s webinar “Tiger King : Questions Answered” you can view it here:

Support The Big Cat Public Safety Act!   Leave a comment


My New Jersey legislators, Senator Cory Booker​ and Senator Bob Menendez​ and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr.​ are all co-sponsors of the Big Cat Public Safety Act.
🐯 Are your legislators supporting this bill?
🦁 If yes, thank them! if not please ask them to support!
☑️ Check Here:
⭐️ S.2561:
⭐️ H.R. 1380:
⭐️ Take Action:

Posted April 12, 2020 by Free Tony The Tiger in Uncategorized

ALDF Webinar “Tiger King : Questions Answered”   Leave a comment

Did anyone watch ALDF’s webinar “Tiger King : Questions Answered”? I did and thought it was very informative and covered the issues of captive tigers with great depth ~Thank you Animal Legal Defense Fund​’s Alicia Prygoski. I have not watched Tiger King, I think it would just be too upsetting because I will always associate Joe Ex with Michael Sandlin; when we were fighting for Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary, Sandlin said he was contemplating sending Tony to Joe’s hell hole. This webinar really focused on captive tigers and big cats, laws in place to protect them and pending bills (i.e. Big Cat Public Safety Act) to end private ownership and breeding. It addressed how cubs are bred for profit and exploitation. The possession, breeding and exploiting of tigers and big cats is such a horrid, cruel “industry.” Tony’s case was included in the webinar and some of my photos of Tony were in the presentation; I was honored, and honestly it brought tears to my eyes to see him. I know we all loved Tony and we tried to do whatever we could to help him and support ALDF’s dedicated efforts to free him to an accredited sanctuary. If you missed the webinar, a link to the recording is coming soon! You can check at: and it will also be posted on Free Tony The Tiger. Photo accompanying this post is courtesy of Animal Legal Defense Fund, of course that is our Tony on the right. #FreeTonyTiger #TonyAlways 🐯

Tiger King : Discussion with Carney Anne Nasser TONIGHT!   Leave a comment

Image may contain: 1 person, possible text that says 'YOUR TIGER KING QUESTIONS ANSWERED LIVE TIME: MAR 30, 2020; 9:00 PM EASTERN; 6:00 PM PACIFIC HTTPS://ZOOM.US/J/9523561982'🐯 Hello Friends…just checking in with all of Tony’s Friends to see how everyone is doing. We’re sure you all have heard about or watched “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” the documentary television series about Joe Exotic. I’m sharing this post from my good friend Carney Anne Nasser and invite you to join her tonight, Monday March 30 at 9pm EST/6pm PST, for a discussion about this series. Carney Anne is an endangered species attorney with expertise in big cats. See her post for more info.

Here is the info to join:
Topic: The Truth about Tiger King Q&A
Time: Mar 30, 2020 08:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

One tap mobile
+13126266799,,9523561982# US (Chicago)
+19292056099,,9523561982# US (New York)

Meeting ID: 952 356 1982
Find your local number:

ALDF: Tiger King – Questions Answered   Leave a comment

🐯 Sharing this post from our very good friends Animal Legal Defense Fund. Join Alicia Prygoski, Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Legislative Affairs Manager, on Tuesday March 31, 2020 (12pm PST | 3pmEST) to discuss big cat captivity laws and answer your questions about the docuseries “Tiger King” See this link to sign up and register:

Wishing All of Our Friends Peace & Love   Leave a comment

We wish our friends a very happy and peaceful holiday season. Thank you all again for your support and love.

Tony was an amazing tiger ~ he is in our minds and hearts always.

#FreeTonyTiger #TonyAlways 🌈🐯🌈

Posted December 26, 2019 by Free Tony The Tiger in Uncategorized

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