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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:

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

by Joe Gyan, Jr.
April 17, 2018

A state judge said Tuesday she’ll rule on the legality of Louisiana’s big cat ban after hearing arguments from attorneys for the state, an animal rights group and an Iberville Parish truck stop owner who wants to house another tiger at the facility in the wake of Tony the tiger’s death there last fall.

The 2006 state law bans private ownership of large and exotic cats, but Tony — who was euthanized in October — was living at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete several years before the ban went into effect.

A measure passed during the 2014 legislative session and signed into law by then-Gov. Bobby Jindal allowed Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin to keep only Tony. The law said Sandlin could not obtain more tigers after Tony dies.

Sandlin contends the state’s 2006 big cat ban is unconstitutional; the state and the Animal Legal Defense Fund maintain it is legal.

District Judge Janice Clark, of Baton Rouge, met in her courtroom Tuesday with attorneys for the state, the ALDF and Sandlin and set up a schedule for them to deliver written and oral arguments to her.

Clark said she would issue a ruling after all arguments are presented to her. She did not set a date for the oral arguments or ruling.

ALDF lawyer Tarak Anada said outside the courtroom that the advocacy group is aligned with the state when it comes to Louisiana’s big cat ban. It forbids anyone other than colleges, sanctuaries, zoos, wildlife research centers and scientific organizations from possessing big exotic cats.

“The big cat ban is constitutional,” he said.

Geoffrey Ormsby, one of Sandlin’s attorneys, said no one disputes the need for regulation when it comes to big cats.

“Our position is Michael is the true sanctuary. He’s the one caring for tigers,” Ormsby said after the court proceeding. “It’s not for economic reasons at all. He has a true love for these animals.”

Robert Morgan, who also represents Sandlin, said Tony was “much better off” while he lived on the truck stop grounds.

Sandlin, who was not in court Tuesday, said in a telephone interview he is waiting for a taxidermist to stuff Tony, who lived at the truck stop for 17 years, so he can be displayed at the facility. Tony’s remains were buried in a coffin, he said, but his fur was returned to Sandlin.

Sandlin said the legal battle with the ALDF to keep Tony at the truck stop was lengthy and costly, but added, “I would do it again.”

“People need to be able to experience these animals,” he said.

ALDF spokesman Matthew Liebman previously called it disrespectful that Sandlin wants to stuff and display Tony at the truck stop as a money-making “promotional prop.”

Tony, a 550-pound Bengal tiger who struggled in his later years with arthritis, was euthanized after he took a sharp decline due to kidney failure, Sandlin has said. The tiger had stopped eating and taking medication.

Sandlin has exhibited tigers at the truck stop since 1984. He has held a federal permit to keep tigers there since 1988.

http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/courts/article_b9073c70-4257-11e8-90e3-836ac985d213.html

Posted April 18, 2018 by Free Tony The Tiger in Uncategorized

ALDF Fights To Uphold Louisiana Big Cat Ban   Leave a comment

April 17, 2018 via ALDF: ” Today our pro bono counsel, Tarak Anada, attended a status hearing in connection to our litigation efforts to uphold the constitutionality of Louisiana’s Big Cat Ban.

Tony was a Siberian-Bengal tiger held captive in the Tiger Truck Stop parking lot in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. For more than seven years, we litigated on many fronts to free Tony. Though Tony tragically passed away last year, we are still fighting on in his memory.

Learn more here: http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/timelines/tony-the-tiger/


Thank You Animal Legal Defense Fund​ & Mr. Anada for fighting on in Tony’s honor to ensure no other tigers/big cats are exploited at the truck stop and the law is upheld to prevent private ownership of big cats. #FreeTonyTiger

Petition to Governor John Bel Edwards​ here:

http://action.aldf.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=25299&okay=true

Posted April 18, 2018 by Free Tony The Tiger in Uncategorized

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