Archive for the ‘Animal Welfare Act’ Tag
By Alicia Graef | April 16, 2017
Efforts to free Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger who is being used as a living attraction at a truck stop in Grosse Tete, La., have been going on for years, but things just took an urgent turn over concerns that his health is failing.
Tigers have been an unfortunate feature at the Tiger Truck Stop since the 1980s, but over the years Tony’s owner Michael Sandlin has racked up numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), ranging from mishandling tigers and failing to provide veterinary care and proper shelter to unsanitary feeding practices and not having properly trained employees – and he may soon be facing more.
Sandlin’s other tigers were removed as a result of his violations in 2003, but Tony was left behind. His advocates have continued to argue that a truck stop, where he’s constantly surrounded by noise and diesel fumes, is no place for a tiger, and now concerns about his health have led to calls for an investigation.
This week the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), which has been working to secure Tony’s freedom, formally called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to inspect the Tiger Truck Stop over concerns about Tony’s health that have been raised by members of the public and a private investigator.
Specifically, the ALDF wants the USDA to investigate AWA violations and determine whether Tony’s medical condition requires immediate independent veterinary care and treatment.
According to the ALDF, “Tony has been observed experiencing diarrhea, potentially suppressed appetite and lethargic behavior. A veterinarian with expertise treating exotic animals like Tony has reviewed recent photos and video and concluded he is suffering from at least two issues, including a kyphosis (or abnormal rounding) of the T-L spine and an impairment causing him to limp.”
“Tony should have been transferred to a sanctuary years ago, but now that his health is potentially failing, the cruelty of confining him in a gas station parking lot is compounded,” said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “At this point it’s the USDA’s responsibility to step in and enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act.”
There’s Still Hope for a Better Future for Tony
At 16-years-old, Tony’s been languishing at the truck stop for close to two decades, but there’s still hope he will be freed, and moved to a sanctuary.
Even though the state passed a law that banned the private possession of big cats back in 2006, court cases involving Tony have been ongoing. Legally, Sandlin lost the battle years ago, and Tony should have been moved, but Sandlin somehow got enough support from lawmakers to pass a law, Act 697, in 2014 which exempts only himself from that ban.
Earlier this month the ALDF took steps to challenge that law by petitioning the court for permission to intervene in a current lawsuit Sandlin has going against the state, arguing “that this ‘one man exemption’ violates the state constitution, which prohibits ‘special laws’ designed to benefit a specific private individual or interest.”
“If the Court upholds the big cat ban and strikes down Sandlin’s exemption from it, Sandlin’s ownership of Tony will again be illegal and the state would be empowered to seize Tony and move him to a reputable sanctuary,” Anthony Eliseuson, ALDF Attorney, told Care2.
Eliseuson added that the ALDF is “doing everything within its power to move the case towards a successful resolution for Tony as quickly as possible,” and that there are several reputable sanctuaries that would be able to provide Tony with a home.
Hopefully the law banning big cats will be enforced as it was intended, and Tony will soon be spending his days enjoying a far different kind of life.
For more on how to help support legal efforts to free Tony and updates on the case, check out the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Free Tony the Tiger.
Photo credit: Animal Legal Defense Fund
Posted on April 11, 2017
Truck Stop Tiger’s Potential Failing Health Requires Immediate Government Intervention
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Animal Legal Defense Fund has submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture requesting an inspection of Tony, based on recent information raising concerns regarding the tiger’s health. Tony, a 16-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, is held in a cage at Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop where he lives amidst diesel fumes and the roar of the adjacent highway. The USDA licenses the Truck Stop under the federal Animal Welfare Act.
For years, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has worked to have Tony moved to a reputable sanctuary. While the legal battle continues, recent observations by members of the public and a private investigator raise concerns about Tony’s health, prompting the Animal Legal Defense Fund to call on the USDA to inspect the Tiger Truck Stop facility. The group’s letter urges the USDA to investigate Animal Welfare Act violations and determine whether Tony’s medical condition requires immediate independent veterinary care and treatment.
Tony has been observed experiencing diarrhea, potentially suppressed appetite and lethargic behavior. A veterinarian with expertise treating exotic animals like Tony has reviewed recent photos and video and concluded he is suffering from at least two issues, including a kyphosis (or abnormal rounding) of the T-L spine and an impairment causing him to limp. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is not aware of any evidence that Tony is receiving the adequate veterinary care he is guaranteed under the Animal Welfare Act.
“Tony should have been transferred to a sanctuary years ago, but now that his health is potentially failing, the cruelty of confining him in a gas station parking lot is compounded,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “At this point it’s the USDA’s responsibility to step in and enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act.”
For more information visit, aldf.org
In May of 2014 SB 250 passed the Louisiana State Senate and House. The bill would create additional exemptions for big cat owners in Louisiana. The bill now goes to the Governor for consideration. Take action now to ask Governor Bobby Jindal to veto this dangerous bill!
If it passes, SB 250 would create a “retroactive exemption” to Louisiana’s ban on possessing dangerous wild animals. Specifically, it would allow Tony the Tiger to remain caged as a truck-stop curiosity where he is subjected to noise and diesel fumes 24-hours a day.
ALDF is on the ground in Louisiana fighting this bill, and we visited Tony the Tiger at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete in May of 2014. Here is the video we recorded:
As Louisiana supporters already know, this bill was designed to appease Michael Sandlin, whose captivity of Tony the Tiger was declared illegal by the Louisiana Court of Appeals in ALDF’s successful lawsuit. Sandlin has been repeatedly sanctioned by the USDA for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Louisiana law rightfully bans private ownership of tigers and other dangerous wild animals. There are a few exemptions, but the law itself is clear. ALDF opposes the possession of big cats because it is inhumane to the animals kept captive, and dangerous to people. Exemptions to the ban on dangerous wild animals waste the state’s resources and put animals in harm’s way simply to accommodate those who want to confine tigers for entertainment or profit.
This outrageous “exemption” bill passed the Louisiana House and Senate. We need to pull out all of the stops—so we are asking everyone to contact the governor right now to tell him that you strongly oppose any exemptions to animal protection laws.
The Governor needs to hear from you! Please send him a message, urging him to veto SB 250. Join our fight against attempts to subvert animal protection laws in Louisiana. You can simply say, “Hello. I am concerned about the welfare of captive tigers in Louisiana. I would like you to veto SB 250.”
For those who are out of state, please join us in sharing this news on social media, so that we can reach more people!
May 13, 2014: The Louisiana Senate PASSED SB 250 by a vote of 20 YEAS to 18 NAYS. The bill is now “Pending House Referral” Track the bill here: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/BillInfo.aspx?i=224278
TONY NEEDS LOUISIANA RESIDENTS to TAKE ACTION NOW by contacting their Louisiana House District Representative and asking them to OPPOSE SB 250.
Easy contact form: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5154/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=17493
You can find out who your Representative is by inputting your address here: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5154/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=15813 Please follow up with a phone call. Louisiana Residents can simply say, “Hello. I am one of your constituents and I’m concerned about the welfare of captive tigers in our state. I would like you to vote AGAINST SB 250.”
Read more from Animal Legal Defense Fund:
Protect Tigers from Unlawful Captivity
We just got word from the Louisiana State Senate floor that a very dangerous bill is now one vote closer to becoming law. If it passes, SB 250 would create a “retroactive exemption” to Louisiana’s ban on possessing dangerous wild animals. Specifically, it would allow Tony the Tiger to remain caged as a truck-stop curiosity where he is subjected to noise and diesel fumes 24-hours a day.
ALDF is on the ground in Louisiana fighting this bill, and we visited Tony the Tiger at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete in May of 2014. Here is the video we recorded:
As Louisiana supporters already know, this bill was designed to appease Michael Sandlin, whose captivity of Tony the Tiger was declared illegal by the Louisiana Court of Appeals in ALDF’s successful lawsuit. Sandlin has been repeatedly sanctioned by the USDA for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act and had all of his other truck-stop tigers removed.
Louisiana law rightfully bans private ownership of tigers and other dangerous wild animals. There are a few exemptions, but the law itself is clear. ALDF opposes the possession of big cats because it is inhumane to the animals kept captive, and dangerous to people. Exemptions to the ban on dangerous wild animals waste the state’s resources and put animals in harm’s way simply to accommodate those who want to confine tigers, bears and other animals for entertainment or profit.
This outrageous “exemption” bill will soon be considered by the Louisiana House of Representatives. We need to pull out all of the stops—so are asking all Louisiana residents to contact Louisiana House Members right now to tell them that you strongly oppose any exemptions to animal protection laws.
House Members need to hear from Louisiana residents only. Please send them a message, urging Louisiana Representatives to vote against SB 250. Join our fight against attempts to subvert animal protection laws in Louisiana. Residents can simply say, “Hello. I am one of your constituents and I’m concerned about the welfare of captive tigers in our state. I would like you to vote against SB 250.”
For those who are out of state, please join us in sharing this news on social media, so that we can reach more Louisiana residents!
Note: This “park” was said to be the intended home for Tony if his owner, Michael Sandlin, is forced to give him up. Read more: http://theadvocate.com/news/1608646-123/oklahoma-park-probed-in-tiger.html
HSUS Undercover Investigation Reveals Dead Tigers, Safety Threats at Oklahoma’s GW Exotic Animal Park
Park may have more dangerous predators than any other roadside zoo in the nation
May 16, 2012 – via The Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States has released the results of an undercover investigation into an Oklahoma exotic animal park, where an investigator recorded tiger deaths, unwarranted breeding and dangerous incidents involving children and adults. HSUS undercover video footage taken at GW Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Okla. in the summer and fall of 2011 shows potentially illegal actions that imperil both animals and humans.
GW Exotic Animal Park houses approximately 200 tigers and other dangerous exotic animals and is acting as a petting zoo and traveling zoo that breeds tiger and bear cubs and allows the public to handle exotic animals for a fee, both at its own facility and at shopping malls and other venues around the country. The HSUS filed a series of complaints with state and federal authorities regarding potential legal violations, and called for strengthening certain areas of the law dealing with dangerous exotic wildlife.
The results of the investigation were first reported this morning by CBS News. The HSUS says it’s a dangerous situation for tigers and people, a hazard highlighted by the mass exotic animal tragedy the nation learned of last fall in Zanesville, Ohio. The president of GW Exotic Animal Park, Joe Schreibvogel, traveled to Ohio in April 2012 to lobby against Senate Bill 310, the bill introduced by state lawmakers to restrict the private ownership of dangerous captive wildlife in response to the Zanesville incident. At that time, he claimed that Terry Thompson was murdered by animal advocates to advance an agenda to ban private ownership of dangerous exotic pets.
At least five tigers died at the facility during the investigation – two of them had been sick for months and may have been shot by GW employees. A 6-year-old tiger named Hobbes died without receiving veterinary care and a 6-week-old cub being raised inside the GW owner’s house somehow sustained head injuries and had to be euthanized. And the death of 23 infant tigers at the facility over a 13-month period between 2009 and 2010 prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to open an investigation into GW Exotics for the unexplained death rate at the park.
“GW Exotics may have more dangerous exotic animals than any other roadside zoo in the nation—with approximately five times as many predators as the late Terry Thompson of Zanesville, Ohio,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “At this facility, children are allowed to play with tigers as if they are domestic kittens, rather than wild cats soon to mature into the some of the world’s most lethal carnivores.”
The HSUS investigator witnessed or heard reports about numerous dangerous public interactions at GW—some with a nearly full-grown tiger—including at least six cases where visitors were bitten or scratched.
- In August 2011, according to GW’s assistant park manager, three people suffered tiger bites at a fair, including one child whose bite became infected.
- On Sept. 3, 2011, a tiger reportedly bit a young girl on her leg during the “play cage” portion of a tour.
- On Sept. 11, 2011, a tiger cub scratched a young child while the child was posing for a picture.
- On Sept. 17, 2011, a 20-week-old tiger named Dre knocked down and bit a small child. GW’s park manager told staff that the boy was bitten and scratched and that he would be bruised but that he (the manager) had “smoothed things over” with the mother and had her “sign the papers.” The next day, the same tiger was used for photo shoots at GW and photographers posed a small child bottle feeding the tiger.
The HSUS has filed complaints with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service seeking an investigation into potential violations of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Endangered Species Act, Lacey Act, and Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act; with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act; and with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for potential violations of GW’s state commercial wildlife license. HSUS has also reached out to local law enforcement concerning the results of its investigation.
The HSUS is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to adopt regulations banning public contact with dangerous wild animals no matter the age of the animals. Current regulations generally allow public contact with tiger cubs between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks, and encourage the reckless over breeding of tiger cubs and surplus of captive adult tigers. The HSUS is also urging Congress to pass H.R. 4122, the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, introduced by Reps. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., and Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., to prohibit the private ownership and breeding of tigers and other dangerous big cats.
The investigative report is available here. B-roll video footage of the investigation is available for media download here and here.
Media Contact: Raul Arce-Contreras, 301.721.6440, email@example.com
Read Wayne’s blog on the Oklahoma investigation
Tony: March 4, 2012 - Photo Courtesy of Cloversweed
Tony: March 4, 2012 - Photo Courtesy of Cloversweed
Pictures and videos of Tony courtesy of “Cloversweed” taken March 4, 2012. Please visit her recent Youtube videos of Tony at these links
http://youtu.be/iha8F3PXLIk || http://youtu.be/9xKyl7_4mB0 || http://youtu.be/B6x5Je7tHXU || http://youtu.be/WZzAW1OmbFU || http://youtu.be/iAmLUTH1-Jc
Please Sign Tony's Petition!
Tony’s petition has reached 13,769 signatures. Thanks for signing and please continue to share:
Visit tinyurl.com/helptonytiger for ways you can advocate for Tony. Updates will be posted when they are made available.
We can make a difference by taking action for animals in need. Please participate in these actions and share the links with friends, family and on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Thanks again for your support of Tony and for all animals who deserve our respect, protection and advocacy for their welfare.
Actions To Take To Help Big Cats!!!
The WildCat Sanctuary – Sandstone MN
Nikita the Tiger and Tasha the Cougar are two lucky cats who will soon have a home at The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone MN. TWS was asked on their Facebook page to “save room for Tony” TWS replied: “Tony will always be welcome at Wildcat Sanctuary!”
Thank You TWS for again offering a home for Tony and for providing exemplary care and homes for your cats.
Please read about Nikita and Tasha here: Nikita the tiger needs your help! and how you can help them, and see this wonderful blog post “from Nikita” My life in captivity – through the eyes of Nikita, the tigress
Click Nikita's picture to learn how you can help bring her and Tasha The Cougar to The Wildcat Sanctuary! Photo Courtesy The WildCat Sanctuary
WildCat Haven Sanctuary – Sherwood OR
WildCat Haven Sanctuary has another “LIKE” Match! A generous donor, Richard Harris has offered them $1 for each new “LIKE” their Facebook page receives by April 1, 2012. WCH hoped to reach a goal of 5,000 members and have surpassed that number! Please visit WCH’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wildcathaven and click “LIKE” at the top and share their page. It’s such an easy way to help the cats at WCH.
Mac and Shirley, residents of WildCat Haven Sanctuary. Click their picture and “LIKE” their Facebook to help the WCH cats! Photo Credit: ©2011 Karine Aigner & Courtesy of WildCat Haven Sanctuary
Ask Your Congress Member to Support H.R.4122 – The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act
Please ask your Congress Member to support H.R.4122 – The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act. This bill would prohibit private possession of big cats except at highly-qualified facilities like accredited zoos where they can be properly cared for and safely managed.
- Enter your zip code at Big Cat Rescue – Tampa FL’s Action Alert for a fast easy way to voice your support of this bill and ask your congressperson to co-sponsor it:
or visit IFAW’s ( International Fund For Animal Welfare) Action Alert: http://www.ifaw.org/us/get-involved/protect-big-cats-cruelty
- You can also sign this petition: Tell Congress: Big Cats are NOT Pets!
- and show your support for H.R. 4122 at PopVox:
More Petitions and Actions for Animals Who Need Our Help!
Lucy The Elephant
Lucy is a beautiful 35 year old Asian elephant who lives alone at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee has agreed to take Lucy as has PAWS Ark 2000 Sanctuary in California but their offers have been turned down by the city of Edmonton. These sanctuaries would provide the habitat and climate Lucy needs as well as elephant companionship which is so vital to these wonderful animals.
Please sign Lucy’s new petition and share the link:
Learn more about Lucy:
Please Sign For NYC Carriage Horses:
Please Sign: Mayor Mike Bloomberg: Stop the Abuse of NYC Carriage Horses! 8 Accidents in 8 Months!
Visit: http://ny-class.org/ to sign another petition calling for the end to carriage horses in New York City and to also co-sign Angelica Huston’s letter to Christine C. Quinn, Speaker of the New York City Council.
Help Circus Animals! Support H.R. 3359 The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act!
Ringling Bros. Circus Tiger - E. Rutherford NJ 3.17.2012
The abuse, confinement, exploitation and cruelty animals are subjected to in circuses and traveling shows are horrific and heartbreaking. For the few minutes the public is “entertained” by them performing ridiculous unnatural stunts, these animals suffer a lifetime of misery. On November 2, 2011, Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) along with Jan Creamer (Animal Defenders International,) Ed Stewart (Performing Animal Welfare Society -PAWS) Dr. Mel Richardson, DVM, Bob Barker, and Jorja Fox, introduced H.R. 3359 – The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act. If passed, this federal bill would amend the Animal Welfare Act to restrict the use of exotic and non-domesticated animals in circuses and traveling shows.
It is crucial that we support this bill. Please contact your congress member and tell them as their constituent you support H.R. 3359 – The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act and ask them to co-sponsor this bill. It takes only a few minutes to call, write, e-mail or fax your representative for animals that endure inhumane conditions and abuse.
- Contact information for your representative can be found by entering your zip code at this link:
(Please do not contact your Senators at this time as a companion bill in the Senate has not yet been introduced.)
- You can send an automated e-mail here:
- For more information about H.R. 3359 / TEAPA visit Break The Chain “the campaign to bring an end to circus animal suffering in the USA, led by Animal Defenders International.” Break The Chain has updates about the campaign, resources, and more ways to take action.
- Sign ADI’s petition: Ask Congress to protect circus animals and pass H.R. 3359:
- More information and resources available from PAWS – The Performing Animal Welfare Society at:
- Please cast your vote in SUPPORT of H.R. 3359 at Pop Vox:
Using animals in circuses and traveling shows is not only cruel and inhumane, but it is a threat public safety – this archaic and cruel practice must end – with support of H.R. 3359 we can make that happen.
From ADI & PAWS:
National measures to prohibit the use of wild animals, or selected species, have been adopted in: Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Malta, Slovakia, Sweden, Portugal, Taiwan, Singapore, Bolivia, Costa Rica, India and Israel. Similar laws are being discussed in: United Kingdom, Netherlands, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Norway, and Peru. Due to public concerns, local town and city bans are in place in the US, UK, Brazil and many other countries.
November 2, 2011 Introduction of The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act
Jan Creamer (ADI) Addresses Congress
Bob Barker Addresses Congress
Jorja Fox Addresses Congress
Videos (*Please Note: GRAPHIC Footage. May be disturbing to some viewers)
Take Action For Circus Animals*
Alec Baldwin: Boycott Circuses That Use Animals*
“There will be a time when people will be shocked that we ever allowed the suffering of these animals in the name of entertainment to continue so long.” Bob Barker
ADI Website: http://www.ad-international.org/adi_usa/
PAWS Website: http://www.pawsweb.org/
From The IS Foundation:
We have all heard of “Tony the Tiger”, but have you ever heard of “Tony the truck stop tiger?” Tony the truck stop tiger is a ten year old Siberian- Bengal tiger and he is the current attraction at a local truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. Tony has been caged at this truck stop for the past ten years and alone for the past seven years. Tony’s home consists of diesel fumes, loud trucks, and not to mention the harassment of the tourists that come through there day and night.
Tony’s cage is nothing but cement and bars; there is no homey feel to this cage for a tiger. Being in a closed cage with nowhere to run can cause stress on a tiger creating him to pace back and forth. In doing this it can cause the pads on his feet to wear down and become sore and injured. If tigers are caged in they at least need room to run around and stretch their legs as well as a pool to bathe in on hot days; there also needs to be trees for shade and places to hide just as if they were in the wild. Although tigers do live longer in captivity a truck stop is no place for a tiger to be. There is no telling what the fumes are doing to the tiger as well as the stress he is under.
“Michael Sandlin, the owner of Tony and the truck stop, has been cited by the USDA due to violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including a lack of proper sanitation and improper feeding practices” (Animal Legal Defense Fund).
“On April 11, 2011, ALDF filed a lawsuit against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and its secretary Robert Barham, arguing that he violated state law in granting a permit allowing Sandlin to exhibit Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop” (ALDF).
“On Friday, May 6, District Judge R. Michael Caldwell of the East Baton Rouge District Court granted the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) request for a permanent injunction against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), preventing them from renewing the annual permit that allows Michael Sandlin to keep Tony as of this December 14” (Care2).
Although Tony doesn’t know it there are people all over the world are fighting for his freedom. Even though he will be free on December 14, 2011 people are still fighting for him to be freed now! ”The ALDF plans to work with the LDWF to find the best home for Tony and will make recommendations on sanctuaries where Tony can live out the rest of his days in an environment that can actually meet his needs” (Care2). We are all looking forward to the day that Tony the Truck Stop Tiger will be able to leave the truck stop and all those harmful fumes and loud noises behind for a new life full of nature and those wild tiger adventures ahead of him.
Animal Legal Defense Fund: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5154/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6207
About the IS Foundation
The IS FOUNDATION aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.