Archive for the ‘Bobby Jindal’ Tag

Tiger Kept At Truck Stop For 17 Years Dies, But The Legal Battle Isn’t Over via Huffington Post   Leave a comment

By Hilary Hanson | The Huffington Post

The tiger at the center of a years-long legal battle between animal rights activists and a Louisiana truck stop owner has died, but the owner’s desire to get another tiger means the fight likely isn’t over.

Tony, better known as Tony the Truck Stop Tiger, was euthanized Monday at the age of 17 after suffering from kidney failure. Michael Sandlin, the owner of Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, acquired Tony when the big cat was 6 months old. He would spend the rest of his life living in an enclosure by the side of the highway.

Courtesy of ALDF
Tony behind the fencing of his truck stop enclosure.

 

“He was an old man,” Sandlin told The Advocate. “You wish they could live forever, but of course, I wouldn’t want him to suffer.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, an animal rights nonprofit, also expressed sadness over Tony’s death but for a different reason. The ALDF tried for more than seven years to get Tony moved to a wildlife sanctuary and said in a statement the group was “devastated” that Tony lived out his final days caged.

Sandlin also told The Advocate he plans to try to get a new tiger to live at the truck stop, which is heavily tiger-themed. The ALDF says its staff will do whatever it can to stop that from happening.

“We’re going to keep fighting and make sure there’s never another Tony,” ALDF attorney Anthony Eliseuson told HuffPost.

Sandlin, who did not respond to a request for comment from HuffPost, says Tony received exemplary care at the truck stop. He also argued that the tiger was attached to his human caretakers and was used to life at the truck stop. In Sandlin’s view, moving Tony to a sanctuary would have been cruel, since the truck stop was all the big cat had ever known.

But animal rights activists disagreed. At a sanctuary, they said, he would have significantly more space, access to a more natural environment and freedom from loud engines and noxious fumes.

The question of how Sandlin was able to keep Tony at the truck stop involves a long and complex legal history. In 2006, Louisiana put restrictions on private big cat ownership. In 2012, Eliseuson said, the ALDF won a judgment against Sandlin that invalidated his permit to own Tony. But in 2014, then-Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) signed a bill into law that exempted Sandlin from the big cat ban.

However, the 2014 law exempted Sandlin because it decreed that the ban didn’t apply to anyone who owned their animal prior to 2006. That means the exemption would apply only to Tony, not to tigers Sandlin might try to acquire now.

So how would Sandlin be able to legally get a new tiger? Eliseuson explained that around the time of the 2012 ruling, Sandlin also filed a lawsuit challenging the 2006 state ban on big cat ownership as “unconstitutional.” His argument was that the law is enforced unevenly and gives officials enforcing it too much power, The New York Times reported in 2013.

So far, that lawsuit hasn’t made much progress, according to Eliseuson. But if Sandlin were to win, it would make privately owning exotic big cats legal not only for himself but for anyone in Louisiana.

“If he were to ultimately be successful, he would invalidate the big cat ban,” Eliseuson said, adding that ALDF will continue to fight to uphold the constitutionality of the ban.

State regulations on owning exotic animals vary wildly, contributing to a situation in which conservationists estimate there are 5,000 to 10,000 captive tigers in the U.S., many in places like roadside zoos and private homes. In contrast, there are about 3,200 tigers in the wild worldwide.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tony-truck-stop-tiger-dead_us_59ea6835e4b0958c468217df?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004

 

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From The Dodo: Famous Tiger Passes Away After 17 Years Stuck At Truck Stop   Leave a comment

“We are devastated … he lived and died caged at a truck stop that could never provide the life he deserved.”


For 17 years, Tony the tiger sat on the concrete floor outside a busy truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, while people around the world fought to save him.

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” ♥

ROAR FOR TONY & CAPTIVE BIG CATS ON WORLD ANIMAL DAY!   Leave a comment

wad 2015 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)

tony profile

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:
https://www.change.org/p/ldwf-enforce-louisiana-state-law-amp-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

Take action for tigers and big cats! Click the picture and ask your representative to support the Big Cats & Public Safety Act!

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.

TAKE ACTION:
https://secure3.convio.net/bfusa/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=1045

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:
https://www.facebook.com/FreeTonyTheTiger

Free Tony The Tiger On WordPress:
https://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/

Tony’s Story:
https://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/tonys-story/

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

Follow Tony On Twitter:
http://twitter.com/#!/FreeTonyTiger (@FreeTonyTiger)
http://twitter.com/#!/TonyTiger2000 (@TonyTiger2000)

Tony On Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/user/FreeTonyTheTiger

Tony The Tiger: 15 Years at Tiger Truck Stop!   Leave a comment

Re-posting from a Dodo Community article:

Tony The Tiger: 15 Years at Tiger Truck Stop!

As we celebrate our nation’s independence on July 4th, we also mark another year in Tony’s life, one that has been spent in captivity and exploitation as a roadside attraction at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana.

Signs posted on Tony’s cage, indicate he was born in July 2000, now making him 15 year old. It is reported that Tony was acquired by Michael Sandlin as a 6 month old cub from a Texas breeder.

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:

http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/timelines/tony-the-tiger/

After exhausting all of his options via the courts, Michael 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. This outrageous bill passed both the Senate and House and was signed by Governor Jindal recently. Immediately the Animal Legal Defense issued a statement saying they would challenge the validity of SB 250. On June 25, 2014 ALDF filed suit against the State of Louisiana for violating the Louisiana Constitution by passing a law that exempts a single individual from existing state public safety and animal welfare laws. Defendants include the State of Louisiana, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the Tiger Truck Stop, and Michael Sandlin.

http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-legal-defense-fund-files-lawsuit-against-louisiana-for-violating-state-constitution-with-new-tony-the-truck-stop-tiger-law/

While Tony’s case remains embroiled in a legal battle, we remain positive, supportive and continue our advocacy on his behalf.

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 49,000 signatures.

http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

Petitions reach people worldwide and keep Tony’s story networked and people updated and supportive.

Stay connected with Tony:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FreeTonyTheTiger

Twitter:

@FreeTonyTiger https://twitter.com/FreeTonyTiger

@TonyTiger2000: https://twitter.com/TonyTiger2000

Instagram: @TonyTheTruckStopTiger http://instagram.com/tonythetruckstoptiger/#

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/tonytiger2000/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/freetonythetiger

WordPress: https://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/

New media is so important for Tony. If you visit Tony, please document your visit with pictures and/or video and share them with us. You can contact “Free Tony The Tiger” at: roar4tony@yahoo.com

Tony has truly raised awareness for captive tigers in the United States where there are an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 big cats kept captive by private owners. The exact number is a unknown because of insufficient record keeping requirements. These dangerous animals are kept as pets, exhibited in roadside zoos, perform in circuses and traveling exhibitions, and bred for profit. Cubs are used in “pay-for-play” schemes and photo ops. You can learn more about the big cat crisis by visiting: http://www.wildcatsanctuary.org/education/captive-wildlife-laws/

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.”

(Photo of Tony’s “enclosure” at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana)

Tony has standing offers of a home at these sanctuaries, please visit the links to learn more about them.

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/

Once again we thank all of Tony’s friends for their support and for caring about him. Because of you, Tony’s ROAR will never be silent. We remain faithfully committed to Tony and look forward to his release to a wonderful sanctuary.

Stay Strong Tony.

The Guardian: Meet Tony, the Truck Stop Mascot Dividing Louisiana   Leave a comment

Yes, There Really IS a Tiger at a Truck Stop   9 comments

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I first learned of Tony about five years ago while I was online researching information about big cats. I can honestly say I had no idea about privately owned tigers in the United States or the seriousness of the issue. I remember falling upon Big Cat Rescue’s (of Tampa FL) website and it was there I read about Tony. As with most everyone who learns of Tony’s story, I was shocked – the more I learned the more I wanted to do something to help. I signed petitions, shared his story, and embraced social media starting a Facebook page, blog, Twitter and Youtube for Tony. Tony even has his “own” Twitter and Instagram.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund took interest in Tony’s case and the legal battle began in 2011. ALDF victories in court prevailed with a judge ruling the permit issued by LDWF to Tony’s owner was illegal; Mr. Sandlin countered with appeals that were ruled against.

See this timeline from ALDF:
http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/timelines/tony-the-tiger/

ALDF’s feature article about Tony:
http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/features/tony-the-truck-stop-tiger/

The most recent attempt by Mr. Sandlin to keep Tony came about with him enlisting his state Senator, Rick Ward, to propose a bill, SB 250, to exempt himself from the Louisiana state law banning private ownership of big cats. SB 250 was passed by the Louisiana Legislature and then was signed into law as Act 697 by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

ALDF challenged this bill by filing a lawsuit against the LDWF, state of Louisiana, Tiger Truck Stop and Mr. Sandlin:

Animal Legal Defense Fund Files Lawsuit against Louisiana for Violating State Constitution with New Tony the Truck Stop Tiger Law:
http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-legal-defense-fund-files-lawsuit-against-louisiana-for-violating-state-constitution-with-new-tony-the-truck-stop-tiger-law/

Thankfully friends of Tony would visit him and share pictures and video they took which is a tremendous help in maintaining a presence online, updating people who follow his case as well as to gain support when there are actions to take on Tony’s behalf. But with all the pictures, videos, and accounts of Tony at the truck stop, I longed to see him for myself.

I finally got the opportunity to visit Tony recently and it has taken me some time to write this account. The whole experience was surreal, exciting, heartbreaking and bittersweet. I was honored to be in the presence of this majestic tiger but saddened by the conditions he is subjected to and disgusted by the blatant corruption and disregard for a state law that passed unanimously in 2006 banning private ownership of big cats. This along with the lack of concern for Tony’s well-being has shocked and disturbed those of us who are committed to Tony’s release to a sanctuary that can provide him with a natural spacious habitat, excellent medical care, proper diet, enrichment and a peaceful life cared for by those who have the utmost respect for him.

Driving along I-10 I saw the signs for exit 139 Grosse Tete and “LIVE TIGER ATTRACTION” It still seemed like a dream to me…I couldn’t believe I WAS GOING TO SEE TONY – a tiger, known and loved all over the world!

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As I pulled into Tiger Truck Stop I was anxious to see Tony but remembered a friend’s accounts of visits where he stayed in his den or on top of it where you hardly could see him.

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I parked and gathered my camera and phone and walked over to his cage…Tony emerged from his “den” – a handsome big beautiful tiger. I was overcome with mixed emotions: sadness, disbelief, joy, anger  –  I muttered something like: “Hi Tony, I’ve waited a long time to see you beautiful boy.”

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I finally was able to see for myself his enclosure which is 4 compounds of concrete flooring with cinder-block dens and a small grassy area that had a ball; platform, old battered tire and what looked to be a kiddie pool in a wooden platform.

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Tony paced from one compound through the grassy area and back again. It was extremely hot near 90. After pacing for quite some time, Tony retreated to one of the den platforms where he stayed for a while until he came down to eat.

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I observed people who stopped to take a picture, locals talked amongst themselves how “they” tried to take Tony away from them; a man asked me where Tony was because it was difficult to see him on top of the den; after pointing out Tony to him he said: “This is bloody sad.”

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A few days earlier I had visited Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. I had been to BCR a few years ago and on both occasions I kept thinking what a wonderful life Tony could have at such a sanctuary. BCR, along with The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado and Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone Minnesota all have standing offers of homes for Tony.

Tiger at Big Cat Rescue - Tampa FL

Tiger at Big Cat Rescue – Tampa FL

For 14 years Tony has been exploited at the truck stop as a roadside attraction. He has become the “spokes-tiger” for captive tigers and big cats in the United States by networking the issue to people worldwide and gaining support in the U.S. for a federal ban on private ownership of big cats with the Big Cats & Public Safety Protection Act. United States Residents can take action by asking their Congress Members for their co-sponsorship and support of this bill; visit this link from Big Cat Rescue – Tampa FL:
http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cats-and-public-safety-protection-hr1998-s1381/

It was very difficult to leave to Tony. I thought of how wonderful it would be to see this striped king running, splashing in a real pool or just resting peacefully in green grass – away from the noise, smells and gritty truck stop environment. I told him to stay strong and that we’ll never give up on getting him to a “good place.”

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It was an honor to see Tony. I look forward to another visit – the next time at a sanctuary where Tony will truly be able to experience the magnificent cat he is and live in the home he deserves. Until then, I’ll continue to do whatever I can to support efforts for his release to such a place. Tony has captured the minds and hearts of people globally and his worldwide “army” will never stop roaring for him and his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary.

Stay Strong Tony

tony wm 2014

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