Re-posting from Animal Legal Defense Fund:
Posted on March 28, 2017
Petition Filed to Intervene in Tony the Truck Stop Tiger Lawsuit
Contact: Natalia Lima, firstname.lastname@example.org, 201 679 7088
BATON ROUGE, La. – This week, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed an amended petition to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit against the state of Louisiana, as part of its campaign to free Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger held in a cage at Gross Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop. Michael Sandlin, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, keeps 16-year-old Tony in his gas station parking lot, amidst diesel fumes and the roar of the adjacent highway. The amended intervention petition is the latest step in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s years-long battle to have Tony moved to a reputable sanctuary.
Sandlin has been able to maintain captivity of Tony despite a state law banning private possession of big cats, because Sandlin successfully lobbied Louisiana to pass Act 697, a law exempting Sandlin – and only Sandlin – from the big cat ban. The Animal Legal Defense Fund argues that this “one man exemption” violates the state constitution, which prohibits “special laws” designed to benefit a specific private individual or interest. The law firms Jones Walker, Proskauer Rose, and Baker Donelson are providing pro bono representation in the case.
“We have worked continuously to free Tony the Truck Stop Tiger for almost six years,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We will continue to work on his behalf until he is relocated to a sanctuary equipped to meet his psychological and physical needs.”
Former Representative Warren Triche Jr. championed the 2006 ban on private possession of big, exotic cats. He was inspired, in part, to introduce the legislation by the reprehensible conditions that Tony is forced to endure. Former Representative Triche is now joining with the Animal Legal Defense Fund in the amended petition to challenge Act 697 and restore the purpose of the original 2006 ban.
In August 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries after it unlawfully granted Sandlin an exhibition permit for Tony. The court ruled in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s favor and ordered the department to revoke Sandlin’s permit. The Louisiana Court of Appeals upheld the ruling in 2013, but Tony remains in captivity at the Tiger Truck Stop because of Act 697.
For more information visit, aldf.org
A big THANK YOU to all of Tony’s friends for their tremendous support of his new video by The Dodo.
It’s received over 1,000 retweets on Tweeter and has over 395,000 views.
Please follow “TONY” on Twitter @TonyTiger2000 and @FreeTonyTiger
Thank you to The Dodo for your support of Tony and his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary – three of which have standing offers of a home for him. We’re honored to have some our video footage used in the video.
Please leave positive comments at the link: https://www.thedodo.com/tiger-has-been-stuck-at-gas-station-for-16-years-2190029151.html
Videos like this keep Tony’s story active and raise awareness for Tony and the estimated 5,000-10,000 privately owned tigers in the United States.
Over 300,000 views on the video and 900 retweets on Twitter. If you tweet, please click here and retweet: https://twitter.com/dodo/status/819651189469872128
The Dodo’s Facebook post has over 4,200 shares and over 200 comments. See: https://www.facebook.com/DodoImpact/videos/1541396722544082/
Tony’s petition remains open with over 62,000 signatures: https://www.change.org/p/ldwf-enforce-louisiana-state-law-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary
Thank you to everyone for your continued support and positive energy for Tony. Please share.
We extend our wishes to all of Tony’s friends for peaceful holidays, and our thanks for your positive support and dedication to Tony.
Recent picture of Tony from Instagram…please follow Tony @tonythetruckstoptiger
Our sincerest thanks to The Dodo for creating this wonderful video for Tony.
We’re honored to have some of our footage used in it from when we visited Tony.
As of our posting, it has over 427,000 views on Facebook and over 4,300 shares.
Please share and never stop ROARING…
Apologies for the late post…but we wanted to share our entry for World Animal Day highlighting Tony and captive tigers.
Please visit: http://www.worldanimalday.org.uk/events/view/roar-for-tony-captive-tigers-on-world-animal-day to view.
Learn more about World Animal Day, celebrated on October 4th, 2016, here: worldanimalday.org.uk/
Action to support legislation banning private ownership of big cats can be taken at catlaws.com
Tony’s petition will remain open: https://www.change.org/p/ldwf-enforce-louisiana-state-law-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary
We appreciate everyone’s support of Tony and ask for your continued positive energy for him.
Repost from Houston Chronicle. Direct link: http://www.chron.com/news/nation-world/article/Caged-The-strange-story-of-Louisiana-s-gas-9236732.php
At a gas station off Interstate 10, you may not be able to put a tiger in your tank, but you certainly can see a live one while topping yours off.
Tony is a real tiger, living in a real cage at a real gas station about 20 miles west of Baton Rouge. And, his fate has been the epicenter of a five-year fight over whether the tiger should be kept in captivity at the truck stop in Grosse Tete, a village of 670 people whose name means “Big Head.”
The Bengal tiger has been living at Tiger Truck Stop for 16 years and spends his day as a roadside attraction that is odd, even by Louisiana standards. The truck stop revels in the notoriety, selling T-shirts reading “Animal Rights Activists Taste Like Chicken.”
READ MORE: Animal welfare group threatens Houston restaurant giant over white tigers at aquarium
But, Tony’s fate – and the fate of any potential replacement – has been the subject of lawsuits and legislation.
Truck stop owner Mike Sandlin has had Tony for 16 years and has said repeatedly he takes good care of the big cat and genuinely cares about the animal’s welfare. Tony lives in an enclosure with toys, shade and water.
In pictures, Tony’s enclosure appears to be cleaner and more orderly than most truck stop bathrooms.
“Tony is happy and healthy at the truck stop in his 3,200-square-foot habitat,” Sandlin told The Times-Picayune/Nola.com.
READ MORE: Conroe Police release 911 call that alerted authorities to loose tiger
But, Sandlin’s detractors have gone to court to try and free Tony the Tiger, saying a truck stop is no place for a big cat to live. Gas fumes, noise and little room to roam, they say, are tough on a tiger.
“For us it’s absolutely about the welfare for Tony,” Animal Legal Defense Fund lawyer Matthew Liebman told a Louisiana legislative committee in 2014. (This is the same group threatening to sue Houston billionaire Tillman Fertitta over four white tigers living at the downtown aquarium.)
There’s a Facebook group hoping to free Tony along with multiple petitions aimed at doing the same thing, but thus far, they haven’t had much success. And, Tony has drawn fans from around the country, some of whom have gotten tattoos or painted murals of the cat.
Court rulings against Sandlin were thwarted in 2014 by then-Gov. Bobby Jindal (he of the short-lived 2016 presidential run).
Jindal signed into law a legislative nose-thumbing at animal rights activists aimed at helping Sandlin. In short, the law overturned rulings barring corporate ownership of big cats and other exotic animals and exempts Sandlin from the state’s ban on owning big cats.
None of this impacts the Louisiana State University mascot, Mike the Tiger, and the on-campus enclosure.
“The threat of him being drug away to some strange place — never petted, never sweet-talked to again…I would not stand by and see that happen to that tiger,” Sandlin told the New Orleans newspaper. “To have these idiots, these nuts that think they know more about tigers than I do — I can’t stand it.”