Archive for the ‘ALDF’ Tag
Repost from Elite Daily by Amanda Holley
Comments supporting tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary are appreciated at the article’s direct link: http://elitedaily.com/life/truck-stop-tiger-animal-welfare/1502326/
Recently, I have had the great pleasure of road tripping from Massachusetts down to Texas. This is truly a wonderful experience because you get to see many of the beautiful sites this country has to offer. We drove through the beautiful, open landscape of Virginia, were dwarfed by the skyscrapers of New York City, mystified by the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and then abruptly disgusted by a tiger being kept in a cage at a truck stop in the Louisiana bayou.
Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Just in case you didn’t process it (because I still really can’t), there is a TIGER being kept in a CAGE at a TRUCK STOP in Louisiana. There are only about 2,500 left in the wild, but don’t worry. There is one at a freaking truck stop in the boondocks.
Part of me wanted to turn around just to go spit in the faces of the people who think it’s OK to keep a tiger in a cage at a truck stop, but part of me thought they might be the kind of people who liked that. So, instead, I researched and decided to give Tony a voice instead.
Tony The Truck Stop Tiger is a Siberian-Bengal Tiger that has lived at the Tiger Truck Stops in Grosse Tete, Louisiana for more than a decade. He lives in isolation, constantly breathing in exhaust fumes. Aside from breathing in hazardous air, his cage is not enriched and not large enough to support the type of lifestyle tigers typically live. In the wild, tigers are solitary animals that travel hundreds of miles a day. They have very acute hearing, so the constant sounds of large truck engines and the taunting of truck stop visitors is very disruptive to Tony.
The lack of space to exercise, on top of the toxic fumes and constant noises, have left Tony in very poor condition. Vets report that he paces around the cage, which is a behavior tigers partake in when they are stressed. This is a clear sign that action needs to be taken soon for Tony’s welfare.
With the wonders of social media nowadays, huge progress has been made for animal rights. Awareness is spread, good information is falling on listening ears and caring hearts and it is benefitting the welfare of animals everywhere. The best example of this is “Black Fish,” the documentary that ultimately resulted in SeaWorld no longer being able to imprison orcas in bathtubs. However, it seemed strange to me that I had heard about the tiger that just died in Indonesia’s death zoo. Yet, until this road trip, I had not heard of Tony The Truck Stop Tiger.
In today’s world, where we know so much about animal welfare, it blows my mind that this atrocity can even happen, especially since laws like the Big Cat Law are in place to prevent backwoods tool bags from privately owning big cats. So, how is it that something like this can even happen? Why does it happen? And, most importantly, how can we stop this?
The why is simple. Tony is being exploited for the same reason all animals are exploited by humans: Money. The owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, Michael Sandlin, has been exploiting tigers for decades because it lines his pocket. In a state like Louisiana, the tiger business is booming due to state pride in the LSU Tigers (the university has no involvement with Tony).
However, paying for the cost of properly caring for a tiger is obviously not part of Mr. Sandlin’s agenda. In 2003 the USDA cited Sandlin for failure to provide veterinary care for the tigers (he used to have more than just Tony, but was ordered to give them up), improper shelter for the tigers, lack of clean drinking water and lack of qualified employees to care for the tigers. At this point in time, three tigers were removed from Mr. Sandlin’s care. Tony was left behind.
So, how is it that Sandlin is still allowed to keep Tony? Again, this answer is fairly obvious: money and corrupt politics. The Louisiana Department Of Wildlife And Fisheries was successfully sued in 2010 by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) for illegally issuing Sandlin a permit to exhibit Tony. Although Sandlin appealed, the higher court stuck with the decision to revoke the permit because they had Tony’s best interest at heart.
In 2014, however, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed an act that provided Sandlin an exemption to the 2006 law that prohibited the private ownership of dangerous and exotic large cats. Sandlin is still in the midst of countersuing to obtain a permit, but continues to display Tony as a gimmick in the meantime.
Now, here’s the one question I do not have an answer for: What can we do? For now, the ALDF is fighting the legal war with Michael Sandlin for Tony’s release. Much like the legal war that was fought with SeaWorld, it is going to be an exhausting battle. But hopefully Tony can get the happy ending he deserves.
Giving him a voice, however, is something we can do. I had not heard of Tony The Truck Stop Tiger until I passed a billboard advertising him on I-10W in Louisiana. It’s not a nice story to have come across, but hopefully it will now fall onto listening ears and caring hearts, and we can play a role in getting Tony into a sanctuary to live out the rest of his days in a prideful, dignified way that he and all tigers deserve.
Wishing everyone peace, love and happiness and our sincerest gratitude for your continued support of Tony. Our advocacy for Tony remains positive and strong, and your tremendous support is a major component of this campaign. Keeping Tony and his story networked and active is so important, whether tweeting, sharing on Facebook, commenting on posts – all positive actions are very appreciated. See Tony’s social media links at the end of this post.
Special Thanks to our good friends The Animal Legal Defense Fund who continue to fight the legal battle for Tony’s release. Their work for animals extends from captive animals like Tony, Candy the Chimpanzee, Lucky the Elephant, bears Ricky and Ben, and Lolita the Orca to puppy mills, factory farming, animal cruelty cases and so many others. They truly represent “the voiceless.” You can support ALDF here: http://aldf.org/only-a-few-days-left-to-donate-in-2015/ and now to the end of the year your donation will be matched. To keep up to date with Tony’s case and for more background information visit these links:
- Tony’s petition is has over 55,000 signatures. The petition requests the LDWF to enforce Louisiana state law and ensure Tony is relocated to a reputable sanctuary. If you haven’t signed please do and continue to share.
A recent post about Tony from The Dodo generated great response on social media. Read: Tiger Has Spent 15 Years Trapped In Cage At Truck Stop; thanks to writer Ameena Schelling and The Dodo for extensive networking of the article.
KEEP ROARING FOR TONY! Share his petition, “LIKE” his Facebook page, tweet for him and “with him” and join Tony on Instagram @tonythetruckstoptiger. See the links below.
GET SOCIAL WITH TONY:
“LIKE” Tony on Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/FreeTonyTheTiger
Tony’s Blog: https://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/
Follow Tony On Twitter:
Tony on Instagram: http://instagram.com/tonythetruckstoptiger/#
Tony on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/tonytiger2000/
Tony On Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/FreeTonyTheTiger
We continue our advocacy on behalf of this beautiful tiger and his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary and thank all of Tony’s friends for their dedication and positive support.
TONY: You are in our thoughts and hearts every day. Stay Strong…We Will Do This.
Please support our very good friends Wildcat Sanctuary on Give To The Max Day TODAY ~ NOVEMBER 12th! This is Wildcat Sanctuary’s biggest fundraising day of the year and we’d like to show our support for the tremendous work TWS does providing homes for big cats, educating the public about the big cat crisis and how we can work together to end it. We’d also like to express our gratitude to TWS for their continued support of Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary and for their standing offer of a home for Tony at TWS.
The Wildcat Sanctuary’s tweet for Tony in 2011; TWS has continually supported Tony and reiterated their offer of a home for him.
Recently at TWS’s Big Cat Crisis Symposium, Tony and the Free Tony The Tiger Campaign were a major topic, including Tony’s presence on social media and the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s dedicated efforts to his release to a big cat sanctuary.
Photos from The Wildcat Sanctuary’s Big Cat Crisis Symposium
Please join us in supporting Wildcat Sanctuary on Give to the Max Day!
“The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS) is a 501c3 non-profit, no-kill rescue facility located in Sandstone, MN. TWS provides a natural sanctuary to wild cats in need and inspires change to end the captive wildlife crisis.”
The Wildcat Sanctuary does not buy, breed or exhibit animals. TWS is funded solely by private donations and receives no state or federal funding and is USDA licensed and accredited by the American Sanctuary Association and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
On World Animal Day we hope to bring Tony’s story and that of captive big cats to people worldwide and ask for support of Tony and for U.S. residents to take action for captive big cats.
World Animal Day began in 1931 in Florence at a convention of ecologists as a means to highlight endangered species. Since then it has developed to include all animals, and countries around the world participate in and celebrate this day. World Animal Day is celebrated on October 4th – The Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi who is the patron saint of animals. Learn more on the official World Animal Day website: http://www.worldanimalday.org.uk/
Our submission for World Animal Day follows (waiting approval ~ will post link shortly)
People all over the world have become aware of the serious issue of captive tigers and big cats in the United States because of a very special tiger named Tony who has lived all of his fifteen years as a roadside attraction at a truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana USA. Anyone who has followed Tony’s story has experienced both its’ highs and lows. Hard fought victories in court by the Animal Legal Defense Fund found the permit issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was illegal and revoked; LDWF was blocked from issuing a new permit. Each victory was met with an appeal by Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, and subsequently each appeal was denied. A timeline of Tony’s case can be viewed at this link: http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/timelines/tony-the-tiger/
After exhausting all of his options via the courts, Mr. Sandlin enlisted his state Senator, Rick Ward, to propose a bill, SB 250, to exempt himself from Louisiana state law banning private ownership of big cats. The legislation was passed by the Louisiana Legislature and signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. The Animal Legal Defense Fund continues their legal battle for Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary.
Tony’s change.org petition asking the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to enforce the 2006 law banning private ownership of big cats remains open and is nearing 52,000 signatures. Please sign – it is open to everyone.
Take action for tigers and big cats! Click the picture and ask your representative to support the Big Cats & Public Safety Act!
There are an estimated 10,000 or more captive big cats living across the U.S. They’re housed in backyards, deplorable roadside zoos, and other facilities ill-equipped to care for these wild animals. On September 17, 2015 Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) introduced the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 3546) in the US House. The bill, if enacted, will prohibit private ownership of big cats in the US and help to end the national big cats in captivity crisis. We’re asking United States residents to contact their representative for their support at the following link.
Our vision for Tony is his release to a sanctuary where he will have a home that provides expert care, a natural, spacious, safe habitat, and where he will swim, run, play and engage in a tiger’s natural behaviors — finally rid of the noise, smells and his 15 year incarceration at his truck stop “prison.” Keeping Tony’s story networked is so important. Please check out his social media links and give him a”LIKE” & “FOLLOW” ~ NEVER STOP ROARING!
Join Tony’s Facebook Page:
Free Tony The Tiger On WordPress:
Follow Tony on Instagram:
Follow Tony On Twitter:
Tony On Youtube:
Video of Tony taken on September 28, 2015.
Please watch and share.
Thanks again to all of Tony’s friends for your continued support.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is the leading force in “protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system.”
Animals used in entertainment suffer tremendously both physically and mentally – and Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Executive Director Stephen Wells’ article recounted some of ALDF’s cases including Tony, orca Lolita, Lucky the elephant and bears Ricki and Ben. Please see the post in its’ entirety here: http://aldf.org/blog/legally-brief-animals-in-entertainment/
Tony the Tiger
ALDF is fighting a lengthy legal battle to allow Tony, a tiger held captive in a truck stop parking lot in Gross Tete, Louisiana, to be moved to a sanctuary. Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, has aggressively fought to keep Tony at his truck stop, but ALDF will continue to fight on Tony’s behalf.
International Tiger Day, or Global Tiger Day – created at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010 – is celebrated on July 29th. Its’ goal is to raise world awareness for wild tigers and support for their conservation. Tigers are magnificent majestic big cats who deserve our utmost respect, protection and advocacy. We ‘d like to contribute to this important day by posting links to visit to learn more about wild tigers, captive tigers, and of course to show our love and support for Tony ~ who has himself raised awareness to the plight of captive tigers in the U.S.
Sadly there are only an estimated 3,200 of Tony’s “cousins” remaining in the wild, a decline of 97% since the turn of the century.
Six sub-species remain: Amur, Bengal, Sumatran, Indo-Chinese, Malayan, South China (functionally extinct – has not been sighted in the wild for more than 25 years); three are extinct: Bali, Caspian and Javan.
Poaching, human-tiger conflict, loss of habitat and prey are the main threats to tigers.
Learn more about wild tigers at these links:
CAPTIVE U.S. TIGERS
Tony is one of the estimated 5,000 or more privately owned tigers in the United States and his plight has definitely raised awareness to this serious issue. Captive U.S. tigers are used in roadside zoos and attractions, photo ops and exhibitions, entertainment shows and circuses, pseudo-sanctuaries, bred for profit or are owned as “pets.” From IFAW: “Private possession of big cats is a legal patchwork: 30 states ban private possession, 14 states allow possession with a permit, and 6 states have absolutely no restrictions on private possession at all. All states but for Kentucky, Ohio, and Washington exempt USDA licensees.”
TAKE ACTION! Protect Tigers: Keep Them Out of American Backyards!
“Shockingly, there are about 5,000 captive tigers in the US—many more than in the wild. Almost all of the captive tigers are owned privately as pets—not by zoos or accredited institutions. Because there isn’t a system to keep track of the tigers, both the American public and the tigers are at risk.”
Please take action at the following link:
THE BIG CATS AND PUBLIC SAFETY PROTECTION ACT
One of the most important ways we can help tigers like Tony and other captive big cats in the United States is to support The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act. This bill would prohibit the private possession and breeding of captive big cats in the United States except at highly-qualified facilities like accredited zoos where they can be properly cared for and safely managed. It would only allow breeding at accredited zoos, along with some research or educational institutions.
When the Big Cat and Public Safety Protection Act is reintroduced, actions to take will be posted, but in the meantime you can learn more about this legislation here:
We truly appreciate everyone’s dedication to Tony and support of his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary. Tony has become the “poster tiger” for captive U.S. tigers and has raised awareness to this serious issue globally through social media.
A recent Dodo article about Tony’s 15th year at Tiger Truck Stop got tremendous response and support when Mr. Ricky Gervais tweeted it.
We support ALDF’s continued efforts to secure Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary, three of which have standing offers of a home for him:
Big Cat Rescue in Tampa Florida ~ http://bigcatrescue.org/
The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone MN ~ http://www.wildcatsanctuary.org/
The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg CO ~ http://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org/
For those of Tony’s friends who may be new to his story, we ask you to reference these articles from Tony’s legal reps The Animal Legal Defense Fund to learn more about the legal battle to “Free Tony The Tiger”:
Special Thanks to Animal Legal Defense Fund for their extraordinary representation of Tony and dedication to him. Please visit their site to learn more about them and their tremendous work to help animals through the legal system and support their Animal Bill of Rights.
- Tony’s change.org petition asking the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to enforce the law remains open and has over 51,000 signatures:
Petitions provide a platform to keep people supportive, involved and updated as well as to demonstrate the interest and support Tony has worldwide.
- Social media is a major component of the “Free Tony The Tiger” Campaign
Join ~ Follow ~ Share these social networking sites for Tony
If you visit Tony, document your visit with pictures and/or video and please share them. Send us a tweet via Twitter or email: email@example.com
Please share this post and ROAR FOR TIGERS on GLOBAL TIGER DAY!