Archive for the ‘baton rouge’ Tag

Animal Legal Defense Fund Sues USDA for Denying Tony the Tiger is an “Individual” Protected by FOIA   Leave a comment

Posted on July 11, 2017

Organization Seeks Expedited Records Concerning Health of Endangered Tiger

Contact:
Natalia Lima, 201-679-7088, nlima@aldf.org

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture for refusing to recognize a captive tiger as an “individual” whose physical safety is at risk and refusing to expedite the organization’s public records request. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is seeking records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) related to the health and well-being of Tony the Tiger, who has been confined at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete for 16 years.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund sought expedited processing, which FOIA requires when delayed disclosure “could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual,” namely Tony the Tiger. The USDA erroneously denied the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s request, asserting that Tony is not an “individual” because the term applies only to humans. The Animal Legal Defense Fund does not agree.

Upon denial of the expedited request, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed an administrative appeal challenging the USDA’s decision—which was constructively denied based on the USDA’s failure to resolve the appeal within the statutorily required time period.

Both in the administrative appeal and lawsuit, the Animal Legal Defense Fund argues that Tony the Tiger is an “individual” within the plain meaning of that term. Merriam-Webster defines “individual” as “a particular being or thing as distinguished from a class, species or collection,” which Tony certainly is. Merriam-Webster even includes a usage example specific to a tiger: “[t]he markings on tigers are unique to each individual.”

“The USDA is charged with protecting the interests of animals—yet it erroneously excludes animals from the scope of provisions intended to allow prompt public access to information that might be necessary to ensure the safety and protect the lives of the very animals they are responsible for protecting,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The American people have a right to access information quickly when an animal’s life and safety are on the line.”

http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-legal-defense-fund-sues-usda-for-denying-tony-the-tiger-is-an-individual-protected-by-foia/

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TONY: 17 Years At Tiger Truck Stop   Leave a comment

17 TONY NEW

As the month of July begins, we mark another year of captivity at Tiger Truck Stop for Tony. It is reported Tony was born in July of 2000 and acquired as a cub that year from a Texas breeder.

Back in 2009, we learned about Tony from Big Cat Rescue in Tampa Florida, and wanted to do whatever we could to help him, gain support for his release to a reputable sanctuary and raise awareness for captive tigers in the United States. By bringing his story to social media, people from all over the world learned about Tony and the captive tiger situation in the U.S. With more privately owned tigers in the United States (est. 5,000 plus) than left in the wild (appx. 3,200) support for legislation banning private ownership is very important. The Big Cat Public Safety Act is a federal law that would end the private possession of big cats as pets, props and for their parts. Please help with the passage of this law by contacting your member of congress and asking them to support the bill. Visit: stopbigcatabuse.com where you will be able to contact your representative by phone, e-mail or Twitter.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) began their legal proceedings on Tony’s behalf in 2011. Repeated court victories found the permit issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries illegal – each victory was met with an appeal by Michael Sandlin, owner of Tiger Truck Stop. When Mr. Sandlin exhausted his appeals he enlisted Sen. Rick Ward to propose a bill (SB 250) to exempt himself from the 2006 law barring private ownership of big cats. The bill was passed by the Louisiana Legislature and signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal (Act 697.)

ALDF has vowed to continue fighting for Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary – and to also keep fighting for Tony to honor the memory of Candy, a chimpanzee held captive for decades at Dixie Landin’ amusement park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in lonely, cramped cage without any interaction with other chimps.

Please see ALDF’s timeline of Tony’s case for updates on their current legal actions:

You can support ALDF and all of their tremendous work to help animals here:

The following links provide more information on ALDF’s recent legal actions for Tony:

We thank these sanctuaries for their great support of Tony and for their standing offers of a home for him:

Our final THANK YOU is to ALL of Tony’s friends for their positive support and dedication to this beautiful tiger and to Tony’s release to a safe, clean home that will provide him with the care and respect all animals deserve.

Please continue to support Tony, the “Free Tony The Tiger Campaign”, his legal representatives ALDF, and the wonderful sanctuaries mentioned in this post.

If you visit Tony and take pictures and/or video please share them with us. Tag us on Instagram, Twitter or e-mail: FreeTonyTheTiger17@gmail.com

Keep Tony’s Story networked on social media:

Facebook:
facebook.com/FreeTonyTheTiger

Instagram:
https://instagram.com/tonythetruckstoptiger/ (@TonyTheTruckstopTiger)

Twitter:
@FreeTonyTiger
@TonyTiger2000

Youtube:
youtube.com/user/FreeTonyTheTiger

Sign Tony’s Change.org Petition:
change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

Personal Note: Visiting Tony, I vowed: We Will Never Stop Fighting For You Handsome Boy…and WE NEVER WILL!

Stay Strong “T” ♥

Animal Legal Defense Fund Demands Feds Recognize Tony the Tiger as an “Individual” Protected by the Freedom of Information Act   Leave a comment

Posted on May 24, 2017

Appeals USDA’s Denial of Expedited Processing of FOIA Request

Contact:
Natalia Lima, 201-679-7088, nlima@aldf.org

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed an administrative appeal, urging the United States Department of Agriculture to recognize a captive tiger as an “individual” whose physical safety is at risk and to expedite the group’s public records request. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is seeking records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) related to the health and well-being of Tony the Tiger, who has been confined at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete for 16 years.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund sought expedited processing, which FOIA requires when delayed disclosure “could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual,” namely Tony the tiger. The USDA erroneously denied the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s request, asserting that Tony is not an “individual” because the term applies only to humans.

But the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s appeal demonstrates that Tony the Tiger is an “individual” within the plain meaning of that term. Merriam-Webster defines “individual” as “a particular being or thing as distinguished from a class, species or collection,” which Tony certainly is. Merriam-Webster even includes a usage example specific to a tiger: “[t]he markings on tigers are unique to each individual.”

“Federal law recognizes a strong public interest in protecting the interests of non-human animals,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “It is troubling that the USDA, an agency charged with protecting the interests of animals, has erroneously excluded animals from the scope of a provision intended to allow prompt public access to information in situations where it might help safeguard the safety or life of the very animals the USDA is responsible for protecting. When animals’ lives are on the line, the American people have a right to speedy access to information that might prevent suffering.”

http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-legal-defense-fund-demands-feds-recognize-tony-the-tiger-as-an-individual-protected-by-the-freedom-of-information-act/

Animal Legal Defense Fund Files Summary Judgment in Tony the Tiger Case   Leave a comment


By: Lauren McCoy
Posted: May 18, 2017 01:17 PM CDT
Updated: May 18, 2017 06:26 PM CDT

Direct Link: http://www.brproud.com/news/local-news/animal-legal-defense-fund-files-summary-judgment-in-tony-the-tiger-case/716559241

BATON ROUGE, LA (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) – The long-fought battle to keep a tiger named Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete continues this week. The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a motion for a summary judgment in this case.

“It’s a procedure that allows the court to enter a final judgment in a case when a party can show that the undisputed facts that demonstrate that they’re entitled to judge as the matter of law,” said Tony Eliseuson, a senior staff attorney at ALDF.

Eliseuson said the group is challenging two legal tactics made by Mike Sandlin, the owner of Tony and Tiger Truck Stop, in this case.  Back in 2012, Sandlin filed a lawsuit against Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of big cats saying it is unconstitutional. The state later established a law exempting Sandlin from the ban.

“In this summary judgment motion, we’ve attacked both of those issues. So, we’ve told the court that the big cat ban is constitutional, and then the second thing we’ve done is we’ve challenged that special law that was designed to just benefit Michael Sandlin and to only benefit Tiger Truck Stop because that violates the Louisiana constitution,” explained Eliseuson.

So, what’s next?

“Then ultimately, there will be a hearing before the court that has to take place. It can’t happen any sooner than 30 days. So, we’re hoping it happens close to that 30 day mark, but then ultimately, the court has the power to grant our motion and that would end the case. The opposing parties would have the right to appeal of course, but it would be a final judgment. The net result of that would be that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would have the authority then to take Tony and move him to a sanctuary,” concluded Eliseuson.

Local 33 and Fox 44 are still waiting to hear back from Sandlin.  We are told he will get back to us when he gets into work. Sandlin has told Local 33 and Fox 44 in the past that he will continue to fight to keep Tony, no matter the circumstances.

If you want to learn more about this case, click here.

Animal Legal Defense Fund Files Motion for Summary Judgment to Free Tony the Tiger Once and for All   Leave a comment

Posted on May 18, 2017

Naturalistic Habitat at Reputable Sanctuary Awaits Long-Suffering Tiger

Contact:
Natalia Lima, 201-679-7088, nlima@aldf.org

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a motion for summary judgment that would at long last resolve the years-long legal battle over the fate of Tony, the 16-year-old tiger held in a cage at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete.

Tony has attracted the attention of animal lovers nationwide for the impoverished conditions of his captivity and the lengths to which Tiger Truck Stop has gone to continue profiting off the tiger’s misery.

A lawsuit, filed by Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin in 2012, argues that Louisiana’s 2006 ban on private ownership of big cats is unconstitutional. Sandlin has been able to maintain captivity of Tony despite the ban because he has challenged the constitutionality of the big cat ban and also successfully lobbied Louisiana to pass Act 697, a law exempting Sandlin – and only Sandlin – from the big cat ban. Sandlin’s lawsuit is intended to allow Sandlin to buy and exploit another tiger after Tony dies.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s motion for summary judgment challenges both of these legal tactics employed by Sandlin to keep Tony at the truck stop. The motion demonstrates Louisiana’s common sense ban on private possession of big cats was an appropriate and constitutional exercise of the state’s authority. The motion also demonstrates the “special law” exempting Sandlin from the big cat ban was unconstitutional. If the court agrees with the Animal Legal Defense Fund and upholds the ban while striking down the exemption, Sandlin’s possession of Tony will again be illegal and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will have a duty to intervene on Tony’s behalf.

“Tony could have been moved to a reputable sanctuary years ago. A reputable facility has a standing offer to welcome him, but Tony’s owner is intent on placing his personal profit over the tiger’s well-being,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We remain hopeful that the legal system will do right by the law and allow Tony to live the rest of his life away from diesel fumes and roaring highway noise.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund thanks the law firms Jones Walker, Proskauer Rose, and Baker Donelson for providing pro bono representation in the case.

http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-legal-defense-fund-files-motion-for-summary-judgment-to-free-tony-the-tiger-once-and-for-all/

ALDF: “We will continue fighting for Tony, in Candy’s honor”   Leave a comment

From Stephen Wells – Executive Director of The Animal Legal Defense Fund | April 24, 2017

On Friday afternoon, the Animal Legal Defense Fund received devastating news; Candy the chimpanzee had died. To hear of any animal’s death is heartbreaking, but losing Candy was especially difficult. For decades, Candy was held captive at Dixie Landin’ amusement park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in lonely, cramped captivity and without any interaction with other chimps. Her isolation was torture.

In November 2015 we filed a lawsuit against Sam Haynes and the Dixie Landin’ amusement park under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for inhumanely confining Candy in isolation and neglecting her welfare. We also made multiple offers to transfer her to a sanctuary capable of meeting the needs of such a complex, intelligent, social creature. It is a tragedy that Candy spent her final days in such conditions.

I’m writing to tell you about this today because I want you to know that we will never stop fighting for animals like Candy. Everyone here at the Animal Legal Defense Fund is heartbroken over Candy, but this terrible loss highlights the urgency of similar cases of animals in captivity.

For six years we have had litigation pending to release Tony, a 16-year-old tiger in potentially declining health held captive at a truck stop less than an hour away from where Candy was held. I assure you that we will continue fighting for Tony, in Candy’s honor. 

I wish I never had to write to you with such sad news, but it’s important to us at the Animal Legal Defense Fund that everyone knows we will never forget Candy, and we will never stop working to save animals like her and Tony.

Thank you for your tireless effort to help us release Candy from her barren cage. May she rest in peace now.

For the animals,

Stephen E. Wells
Executive Director

https://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5154/t/19504/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1391023

Owner of Grosse Tete Truck Stop, Michael Sandlin, denies Tony is “suffering”   Leave a comment

Group: Truck-stop tiger may be ill; Owner: Old, arthritic

Janet Mcconnaughey, Associated Press Updated 8:09 pm, Thursday, April 13, 2017

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Video and photos suggest a tiger kept at a Baton Rouge-area truck stop may be ill, an animal rights group says.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate and ensure that Tony the tiger is getting proper care. A veterinarian has said a private investigator’s photos and video show a limp and spinal curvature, and a web posting in February said the tiger had diarrhea, attorney Matthew Liebman said Thursday.

The owner of the Grosse Tete Truck Stop, Michael Sandlin, denies that Tony is suffering. He says the tiger is seen regularly by a veterinarian, limps from arthritis and only has loose stools after he gets anti-worm medicine.

“He is not sick. He’s simply an old man with some arthritis,” Sandlin said.

At 17, Tony is indeed old for a tiger. Tigers typically live 14 to 18 years in captivity, according to veterinarian David Baker of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Like people with arthritis, Sandlin said, Tony wakes up a bit stiff and loosens up during the day. He lives in a cage with a grassy area, a large water tank to swim in, a hanging tire and other toys.

“We just want to make him as comfortable as we can and we don’t want him to be in pain. That’s what the medication is for,” he said.

Sandlin said he has asked the vet to check Tony again because of the concern about his health.

“I don’t have a problem when someone has a concern about the animal’s welfare as far as his health,” Sandlin said. “But when they want to talk about total animal liberation and equal rights for animals, I do stand opposed to that.”

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has received the defense fund’s complaint, spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said in an email. “We will look into it. I want to clarify that this does not mean there is an open investigation,” she wrote.

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