Archive for the ‘Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC’ Tag

Via Animal Legal Defense Fund: Louisiana Supreme Court Allows Victory for Tiger to Stand   Leave a comment

aldf tony barsThe following was posted today by the Animal Legal Defense Fund:

Posted on October 7, 2013

For immediate release:

Contact:
Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Last Friday, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied a petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeal in the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) ongoing case to protect Tony, the Siberian-Bengal tiger confined at Grosse Tete, Louisiana’s Tiger Truck Stop by Michael Sandlin. In 2011, ALDF sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for unlawfully issuing a permit to Sandlin to keep and exhibit Tony. With pro bono assistance from Baker Donelson, ALDF was joined in the suit by several Louisiana taxpayers, including Warren Triche, the state representative who authored the Louisiana state law banning private ownership of tigers. In April of this year, the Court of Appeal held that Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are ineligible for a big cat permit and can no longer keep Tony. Sandlin sought review of that decision, but last Friday the state Supreme Court declined to take the case. Although Sandlin could appeal further to the U.S. Supreme Court, the lawsuit raises no issues of federal law, so the Court could not grant review.

Meanwhile, on October 5, an employee at G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma was attacked by an adult male tiger and almost lost her arm. Michael Sandlin has declared his intention to send Tony to G.W. Exotic if forced to relinquish him. The controversial zoo has been the subject of undercover investigations and houses more than 200 dangerous exotic animals that it breeds and uses for public interaction. ALDF is asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to investigate the horrific attack at G.W. Exotic. Given the animal welfare and public safety failings at G.W. Exotic, ALDF is calling on LDWF to ensure that Tony is transferred to a legitimate and reputable sanctuary. Sending Tony to G.W. Exotic would violate both Louisiana and Oklahoma state laws.

Still ongoing is Sandlin’s own lawsuit, alleging that the Louisiana state ban on private ownership of dangerous exotic animals is unconstitutional.

“We are relieved to see this case reach its end,” said Matthew Liebman, senior attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Nearly three years after we asked the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries not to issue a permit to the Tiger Truck Stop, the highest court in the state has declined to prolong this case further. We call upon the Department to do the right thing and send Tony to a reputable sanctuary, before we face another tiger tragedy.”

http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/louisiana-supreme-court-allows-victory-for-tiger-to-stand/

*************************************************************************************

NOTES:

Zoo worker attacked by tiger in OK
http://www.fox23.com/news/local/story/Zoo-worker-attacked-by-tiger-in-OK/dWwlhtpYrE-5-O2RDUaLeg.cspx

HSUS Undercover Investigation Reveals Dead Tigers, Safety Threats at Oklahoma’s GW Exotic Animal Park
http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2012/05/ok_exotics_investigation.html

Tony’s Petition:
LDWF: Ensure Tony The Tiger Is Released To A Reputable Sanctuary
http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

Truck stop tiger case headed to Louisiana Supreme Court   Leave a comment

tony adv pic

NOTE: Senior attorney Matthew Liebman said the Animal Legal Defense Fund will be filing its opposition to Morris’ request. “The application is entirely without merit, yet another attempt by Mr. Sandlin to delay the inevitable and prolong Tony’s inhumane captivity,” he wrote in an email.

BY JOE GYAN JR.
Advocate staff writer
July 04, 2013

The fate of Tony the truck stop tiger is now in the hands of Louisiana’s highest court.

Jennifer Treadway Morris, an attorney for Tiger Truck Stop and owner Michael Sandlin, said Wednesday that she and fellow lawyer Paul Baier filed an appeal Tuesday at the state Supreme Court in New Orleans.

The state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge ruled in April that the 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger mix cannot continue to be housed in an exhibit at the Grosse Tete truck stop where he has lived for 12 years. The appellate court refused last month to reconsider its decision.

The truck stop off Interstate 10 in Iberville Parish has been displaying tigers for 25 years.

“Michael Sandlin has exhibited tigers at Grosse Tete’s iconic Tiger Truck Stop for twenty-five years, to the delight of countless children, interstate travelers, and local citizens,” Morris and Baier state in the documents filed at the high court. “His capital investment as well as TTS’s property interest in Tony the Tiger are at stake.”

State District Judge Mike Caldwell ruled previously that a 2006 Louisiana law bars the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries from renewing Sandlin’s permit to house Tony at the truck stop exhibit. The 1st Circuit’s April decision affirmed that ruling.

Caldwell concluded the department violated its own rules by exempting Sandlin and Tiger Truck Stop from permit requirements for owners of big cats. The judge ruled that a state permit can be issued only to an individual, not a corporation. Tiger Truck Stop was the permit holder, not Sandlin, the judge said.

The truck stop’s last annual state permit expired at the end of 2011.

Sandlin contends he has held a federal permit to keep tigers at the truck stop since 1988.

Tony, the last privately owned big and exotic cat in the state, is well cared for, healthy and happy, Sandlin has said.

http://theadvocate.com/home/6421217-125/truck-stop-tiger-case-headed

Tony: 13 Years At Tiger Truck Stop   Leave a comment

Photo Courtesy “Mark of the Beast”

According to the sign posted on Tony’s cage, he was born in July 2000; this month marks his 13th year.

While his case continues to be battled out in the courts – it’s important to remain positive and supportive for Tony and continue to network for him:

Share Animal Legal Defense Fund’s page for Tony and ALDF’s latest update from the April 25th hearing Victory in ALDF’s Tony the Tiger Case!

Sign and share his change.org petition; Petitions are a good way to keep people supportive, involved as well as demonstrate the interest and support Tony has worldwide.

Join ~ Follow ~ Share these social networking sites for Tony

  • Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/FreeTonyTheTiger

  • Twitter:

@FreeTonyTiger http://twitter.com/#!/FreeTonyTiger

@TonyTiger2000: http://twitter.com/#!/TonyTiger2000

  • Instagram:

http://instagram.com/tonythetruckstoptiger/#

  • Pinterest:

http://pinterest.com/tonytiger2000/

  • Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/user/FreeTonyTheTiger

  • WordPress:

https://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/

If you visit Tony,  document your visit with pictures and/or video and please share them. Send us a link via Twitter, on Tony’s Facebook page or email: roar4tony@yahoo.com

Thanks to ALL of Tony’s friends – your support and dedication to this beautiful tiger is greatly appreciated and so very important in working towards the home and life Tony deserves.

Special Thanks to Animal Legal Defense Fund and  Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz
for their extraordinary representation of Tony and dedication to his case.

~ KEEP ROARING FOR TONY ~

den tony

From ALDF: Victory in ALDF’s Tony the Tiger Case!   Leave a comment

 Photo credit:  Animal Legal Defense Fund


Photo credit:
Animal Legal Defense Fund

Re-posting from ALDF:

Posted by Matthew Liebman, ALDF Staff Attorney on April 26th, 2013

Yesterday, April 25th, 2013,  the Louisiana Court of Appeal issued its long-awaited opinion in Animal Legal Defense Fund v. State of Louisiana, holding that Michael Sandlin is ineligible for a permit to confine Tony the Tiger in a cage at the Tiger Truck Stop.

Although the court held that ALDF lacked standing to be a plaintiff in the case, it nevertheless confirmed that our clients—Louisiana residents and taxpayers—do have standing to challenge illegal actions by the government, in this case the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

In ruling on the merits, the court agreed with ALDF’s argument that Michael Sandlin cannot receive a grandfather permit to continue to keep Tony because Sandlin does not meet the legal requirements for such a permit. As the court put it:

The record establishes that on August 15, 2006, Tony was not owned by Michael Sandlin; rather, he was owned by Tiger Truck Stop. Additionally, on August 15, 2006, the ownership and possession of Tony by Tiger Truck Stop and the possession by Michael Sandlin in Iberville Parish was in violation of a local ordinance, and thus, illegal. Although that local ordinance was amended in 2009 retroactive to August 15, 2006, the amendment to the ordinance did not change the fact that on August 15, 2006, neither Tiger Truck Stop nor Michael Sandlin legally possessed or legally owned Tony. Only an individual who legally possessed an exotic cat (such as a tiger) and who could prove legal ownership of that exotic cat is entitled to a permit for that cat. Accordingly, that part of the judgment of the trial court granting a final/permanent injunction against DWF, enjoining it from issuing any new permits to Michael Sandlin and/or Tiger Truck Stop for the tiger (“Tony” microchip #477E201A4C) now located at Tiger Truck Stop in Iberville Parish is affirmed.

The decision marks a significant step towards Tony’s freedom, as the second-highest court in Louisiana has confirmed that the Department erred when it issued Sandlin a permit. Sandlin’s lawyer has said she intends to seek rehearing of the Court of Appeal’s decision, as well as review by the Louisiana Supreme Court. Sandlin also has his own lawsuit to invalidate the state’s big cat ban. But rest assured ALDF will fight every step of the way to make sure Tony ends up in a reputable sanctuary. We still have a long road ahead, but we’ve cleared a major hurdle and have earned this moment of celebration.

http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2438

One Step Closer To Freedom…   Leave a comment

aldf tony 4.25.2013

Update From The Animal Legal Defense Fund:

April 25, 2013: On April 25, 2013 the Louisiana Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling in ALDF’s case against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for unlawfully issuing Michael Sandlin a permit to keep and exhibit Tony. The Court of Appeals agreed with Judge Caldwell, holding that Sandlin is ineligible for a permit to keep Tony. With pro bono assistance from Baker Donelson, ALDF will continue to fight on behalf of Tony and the individual plaintiffs involved.

  • Follow Tony On Twitter:

http://twitter.com/#!/FreeTonyTiger
http://twitter.com/#!/TonyTiger2000

Court: Grosse Tete truck stop tiger must be moved   Leave a comment

adv tonyBy Bill Lodge
Advocate staff writer
April 26, 2013

Tony, the 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger, cannot continue to be housed in an exhibit at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, a three-judge panel of the state’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeal ruled Thursday in Baton Rouge.

But an attorney for truck stop owner Michael Sandlin said Tony will not be moved to a new home soon.

“We are going to file for a rehearing at the 1st Circuit. If we lose on rehearing, we’ll be filing an appeal with the Louisiana Supreme Court,” said Jennifer Treadway Morris, Sandlin’s attorney.

Members of the 1st Circuit panel were Circuit Judges J.E. “Duke” Welch and Randolph H. Parro, as well as retired Judge William F. Kline Jr., who serves on the appellate bench by special appointment of the state’s Supreme Court.

The 20-page decision written by Welch upheld a November 2011 judgment by 19th Judicial District Judge Michael Caldwell, who ruled a 2006 state law bars the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries from renewing Sandlin’s permit to house Tony at the truck stop exhibit off Interstate 10.

The appellate panel, however, overturned Caldwell’s decision to allow the nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund to intervene in the civil suit on the side of four Louisiana residents who wanted Tony, now 12, sent to an accredited wildlife sanctuary.

Those four residents are Warren Triche Jr., Brandi J. Sutten, Jennifer Torquati and John Kelleher.

Matthew G. Liebman, a California-based attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said he does not believe the nonprofit organization will appeal the 1st Circuit’s ruling that it should not have intervened in the litigation.

The most important part of the 1st Circuit’s decision was its agreement with Caldwell that state officials cannot renew the permit that allowed Tony to be kept at the truck stop, Liebman said.

“We see this decision as a victory,” Liebman added. “It looks like Tony is finally going to breathe some fresh air.”

Morris, however, noted that Sandlin has a related civil suit pending before 19th Judicial District Court Judge Janice Clark.

Sandlin argues in that suit that a 1993 Iberville Parish ordinance should not be allowed to ban ownership of “wild, exotic or vicious animals for display or for exhibition.”

In his suit, Sandlin adds that he has held a federal permit to keep tigers at the truck stop, just off Interstate 10, since 1988. He argues that a parish ordinance cannot ignore federal rules.

Although the case in Clark’s court remains to be decided, Morris said the 1st Circuit’s decision not to grant standing to the California nonprofit organization in Caldwell’s court is a good sign for Sandlin.

“We beat the Animal Legal Defense Fund” in the first case, Morris said. “That’s a big win.”

http://theadvocate.com/home/5811635-125/appellate-court-tiger-must-be

Hearing TODAY for TONY   Leave a comment

Positive thoughts & energy for Tony and the Animal Legal Defense Fund as The Louisiana Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Tony’s case TODAY. http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2233.

tony-3

Appellate court to hear arguments on whether live tiger may be kept at truck stop   Leave a comment

Click picture for video.

Click picture for link to video.

BATON ROUGE, La. — This week the State of Louisiana Court of Appeal will hear arguments in the case of the Tiger Truck Stop in Baton Rouge.

Owner Michael Sandlin is fighting to keep a live Bengal tiger named Tony in a cage at the truck stop.

The animal legal defense fund won a ruling against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for unlawfully issuing Sandlin a permit to keep the tiger.

In 2011, Judge Michael Caldwell ordered wildlife and fisheries to revoke the permit.

The court will take up Sandlin’s appeal on Tuesday.

 http://www.wwltv.com/news/Appeal-court-to-hear-arguments-on-live-tiger-kept-at-Tiger-Truck-Stop-case-191613871.html

For Tony on ALDF’s Facebook Page 1.24.2013   Leave a comment

aldf tony bars

Tigers don’t belong in truck stops! On Tuesday, February 19, 2013 the courts will hear ALDF’s oral arguments in the appeal to free Tony. Keep Tony in your thoughts!

More on this update: http://bit.ly/TwMQrs

Court Date For Tony Confirmed By ALDF   2 comments

This update posted on January 24, 2013 by Animal Legal Defense Fund:

On Tuesday, February 19, 2013 the courts will hear ALDF’s oral arguments in the appeal to free Tony.

%d bloggers like this: