Archive for the ‘animal legal defense fund’ Tag

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 : https://aldf.org/focus-area/captive-animals/

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 : https://aldf.org/article/add-your-voice-support-the-big-cat-public-safety-act/

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

CLICK TO SEE FACEBOOK POST BY TIGERS OF AMERICA ABOUT TONY’S PHOTO

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)
🌈🐯🌈

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: https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/371303283611091718

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: https://aldf.org/article/webinars/tiger-king-questions-answered/ 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 🐯

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:
https://aldf.org/article/webinars/tiger-king-questions-answered/

In Memoriam : Tony the Tiger   Leave a comment

Two years ago, on October 16, 2017, we lost a tiger who touched the hearts of people all over the world. While Tony’s story is tragic, confined for all of his life as a roadside attraction at a truck stop in Louisiana, he brought tremendous attention to the serious issue of captive tigers and big cats in the United States.

Tony had an “army” of friends and his dedicated legal team, The Animal Legal Defense Fund, working on his behalf for his release to a big cat sanctuary; sanctuaries Big Cat Rescue, The Wildcat Sanctuary and The Wild Animal Sanctuary supported his release and offered a home for him.

Unfortunately ALDF victories in court that ruled the permit to keep Tony illegal were met by his owner’s appeals and Tony’s case dragged on for years.

I will never forget the times I visited Tony; I was overwhelmed to be in his presence, but saddened and disturbed that here was this magnificent tiger imprisoned at a truck stop…each time I told him to stay strong and that we’d never give up on him.

I feel that one of the best ways we can honor Tony is to continue to be a voice for captive wild animals.

To learn more about ALDF’s work to help captive wild animals:

Visit ALDF’s “Captive Wild Animals” : https://aldf.org/focus-area/captive-animals/

Say NO To Roadside Zoos : https://act.aldf.org/page/6162/petition/1

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 : https://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-act/

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.

Thanks to all of Tony’s amazing friends for your dedication throughout the years. You are all truly appreciated.

” T ” : you are in my thoughts every day and in my heart always.

For ” T ” Always ~ #FreeTonyTiger 🌈 🐯 🌈

Tiger or Human, We’re All Individuals   2 comments

Reposting from The Animal Legal Defense Fund – June 12, 2019

Tony The Tiger

In early 2017, after learning that Tony the tiger’s health was failing, we requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspect Tony under the Animal Welfare Act. We then submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the inspection report and asked for expedited processing — required under FOIA when delay in providing records “could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual.”

The USDA denied our request because the agency considers only humans to be “individuals.” We filed a lawsuit against the USDA, challenging its narrow interpretation of “individual,” arguing that the term includes nonhuman animals whose life or physical safety is at risk.

Though Tony is gone, our fight on his behalf continues. Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in our lawsuit.

Learn more about this case here: https://aldf.org/case/tony-the-tiger-the-individual/

Watch oral arguments in ALDF”S “Tony the Tiger: The Individual” case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit fro June 12, 2019:

 

Animal Legal Defense Fund Director of Litigation Matthew Liebman

NOTE FROM FTTT:
Thank you Matthew and ALDF for continuing to advocate on behalf of Tony and for animals like him.

Tony touched the hearts of so many people all over the world and he will never be forgotten.

I will always be grateful to you and everyone at ALDF for your commitment to Tony and his release to a sanctuary.

I miss Tony and think of him every day. #FreeTonyTiger

🌈♥🐯♥🌈

Tribute to My Little Tiger Tony   Leave a comment

Tony Cat supporting ALDF’s #TinyTigers4Tony Campaign

Apologies for the absence…recently I lost my own “little tiger” ~ my beautiful cat coincidentally named Tony. Back in 2008 a very good friend found Tony Cat’s adoption article in a local newspaper, (he was already named Tony by the shelter.) I read Tony’s story and once again felt fate brought me a very special boy. I adopted Tony Cat on September 3, 2008 and we shared almost 10 years together. I was truly blessed to know and share a life with this kind gentle soul. I like to believe my Tony Cat is with his “big cousin,” our beloved Tony the Tiger.

There is not a day that goes by where I don’t think of Tony the Tiger…I love this tiger and I’m so thankful I got to visit him and tell him how much he was loved by his friends and how hard we were all trying to help him. What a beautiful, majestic boy. Tony truly was and always will be the ambassador for captive tigers – he was known world-wide, and raised tremendous awareness to the issue. I’m sorry Tony never got a wonderful sanctuary home.

If you haven’t done so, please sign Animal Legal Defense Fund‘s petition to Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin at: https://act.aldf.org/page/6167/petition/1

If you ever visited Tony and have pictures you’d like to share please e-mail freetonythetiger17@gmail.com

One again thank you for your support and understanding.

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

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