Archive for the ‘Iberville Parish’ Tag

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

Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Animal Law Summer School – Captive Wildlife   Leave a comment

Click picture to register and watch webinar!

If you missed ALDF’s recent webinar on captive wildlife, you can watch a recording of the session here.

“Matthew Liebman, Director of Litigation for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, teaches participants how animal advocates are using state and federal laws to protect wild animals in captivity. This webinar will focus on groundbreaking litigation brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund under the Endangered Species Act, the Animal Welfare Act, and state laws. The cases have sought to liberate Lolita the Orca, Candy the Chimpanzee, Tony the Tiger, Ben the Bear, and others from inhumane captivity.”

Tony’s case was covered extensively. We truly appreciate ALDF’s commitment to Tony and to his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary. They have the positive support of Tony’s friends from all over the world.

#FreeTonyTiger

 

 

Update for Tony from ALDF – May 26, 2017   Leave a comment

Posted by Animal Legal Defense Fund on their Facebook page May 26, 2017:

“We’ve been keeping you up to date on our work on behalf of Tony the tiger and wanted to share the latest. This week, Animal Legal Defense Fund attorneys sent a letter to the Iberville District Attorney and Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana urging a criminal investigation into Tony’s condition. Louisiana law mandates animals have proper drink, food, shelter and veterinary care. Given Tony’s poor condition, we believe his owner may be in violation of the law. If you want to hear more about our work to save Tony, make sure to listen this interview by Animal Legal Defense Fund attorney Tony Eliseuson here: http://talk1073.com/2017/05/19/new-legal-maneuvers-in-battle-over-tony-the-truck-stop-tiger/

Animal group urges federal exam of ‘Tony’ the tiger via The Independent   Leave a comment

by Walter Pierce – The Independent

Citing independent video and photographic evidence and consultation with a veterinarian, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is asking the USDA to examine Tony, the 16-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger caged his entire life in a small chain-link enclosure at a interstate-side truck stop in Grosse Tete, for possible deteriorating health. The ALDF says it submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture asking that federal authorities examine the tiger under the federal Animal Welfare Act.

ALDF spokeswoman Liz Holt tells The Independent that the group’s “concerns have grown even more urgent, as we have received reports—with photo and video—that Tony’s healthy may be failing. After consulting with a big cat veterinarian, we have reached out to the USDA and urged them to open an investigation to review Tony’s health and make sure he receives any veterinary care he may need.”

The ALDF provided theind.com with two independently shot videos showing Tony in his enclosure. (The second video is embedded below.) Both suggest the animal is lethargic and the video embedded below shows the tiger with a slight limp favoring his rear left leg.

The ALDF has fought Michael Sandlin, owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, in court for several years in an effort to get the state to order Tony’s relocation to a tiger sanctuary. In 2014, state lawmakers passed legislation making Sandlin exempt from a state law barring private ownership of big exotic animals, which went into effect after Sandlin began using tigers as a roadside attraction at his Iberville Parish business off Interstate 10. The ALDF is currently challenging the law that grandfathered Sandlin.

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. 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.

Stephen Wells, the ALDF’s executive director, says in a release announcing the letter to the feds that 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. At this point it’s the USDA’s responsibility to step in and enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act.”

http://theind.com/article-24858-animal-group-urges-federal-exam-of-%E2%80%98tony%E2%80%99-the-tiger.html

Tony the Tiger Timeline via @ALDF   1 comment

Tony the Tiger

Tony the Tiger is captive in a truckstop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, where he lives among diesel fumes with a fraction of the space he would have in the wild. The following is a timeline of the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s work to free Tony.

tony-copyright-FTT-article-image-500px

For a more comprehensive overview of our efforts to free Tony, check out our feature article.

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

Louisiana Senate votes down bill protecting ownership of truck stop tiger via @BRNola   Leave a comment

tony nola

By Emily Lane, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
April 28, 2014 at 6:00 PM, updated April 28, 2014 at 9:50 PM

A Louisiana state senator hinted the Legislature dodged an unwanted national spotlight Monday (April 29) by narrowly voting down a bill that would let the owner of a truck stop off of Interstate 10 keep his roadside attraction, a Bengal-Siberian mix tiger.

But the sponsor of the bill, which the Senate voted down 19-18, recalled visiting the truck stop tiger as a boy and defended the owner as someone who cared for his tigers and always tried to comply with the ever-changing laws regulating exotic cats in Louisiana.

Senate Bill 250, sponsored by Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, aims to prevent the state from seizing Tony the tiger from Grosse Tete-located Tiger Truck Stop Inc. and its owner Michael Sandlin. Ward can bring the bill back up again and indicated he will.

Ownership and possession of the 14-year-old tiger, which lives in a 40-by-80-foot cage at the stop 20 minutes outside Baton Rouge, is currently up in the air pending litigation. Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin challenged the state’s attempt to remove Tony after the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal ruled in April that Sandlin’s permit to keep Tony was invalid because he is not Tony’s legal owner. Tiger Truck Stop Inc. has owned Tony since 2000, but new rules promulgated by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries require the owner to be an individual, not a corporation.

Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, handed out photos of the tiger’s cage. “It’s a chain-link fence keeping in a Siberian tiger,” he said. Though pictures of the cage Morrell placed on desks of every senator played to the animal rights angle, Morrell kept much of his argument on the floor geared toward public safety.

Photos of Tony the tiger in his cage (above) at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, were handed out to lawmakers on the Louisiana Senate floor, along photos of the habitat of LSU's Mike the Tiger, (below) for comparison. Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, distributed the photos in opposiion of a bill to allow the tiger's owner to keep him there. (Emily Lane, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

Photos of Tony the tiger in his cage (above) at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, were handed out to lawmakers on the Louisiana Senate floor, along photos of the habitat of LSU’s Mike the Tiger, (below) for comparison. Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, distributed the photos in opposiion of a bill to allow the tiger’s owner to keep him there. (Emily Lane, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

nola 2

He read over the microphone answers to some of the questions, which were part of the lawsuit evidence, posed to Tiger Truck Stop employees in the event that the tiger escape.

One employee said in the event of an escape, after notifying the area, calling animal control and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, he would “get whichever gun I would need.”

Another, asked the first action he would take in the event of an escape, answered, “Rescue everybody.” The same employee, asked what to do if he couldn’t find the tiger, answered: “‘Good question,'” then added, “Somebody’s gonna have to find him.”

The questionnaires also reveled all employees had attended a Wildlife and Fisheries hunter safety course and were trained to carry out the escape plan. Sandlin, though, when asked if he had read the escape plan, answered: “Insurance company wrote escape plan.”

The original version of the bill extended beyond just Tony, to other private owners of exotic cats. It also would have allowed Sandlin to continue to house tigers. But the version the Senate took up Monday makes an exception only for Tony.

“I remember going (to the Tiger Truck Stop) as a kid, growing up,” Ward, 31, said last week. His district includes the town in Iberville Parish where the truck stop is located. Ward said the Sandlins have a good track record of caring for the animals, as far as he knows, and he feel’s his permit should have been pulled because of retroactive rules added to the exotic cat statute. He echoed a concern voiced by Sandlin that relocating the tiger, which Sandlin said likely has six or seven years left, could be traumatic for the animal and possibly risk his health. “I thought it was the right thing to do,” Ward said of sponsoring the legislation.

Matthew Liebman, attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, of Cotati, Calif., said the assertion that relocating Tony could be harmful to the tiger a “sounds like a scare tactic to me.” Liebman represented plaintiffs in the legal battle. Maintaining the tiger in captivity, “and certainly at a truck stop,” raises humane concerns, as well as public safety, he said.

But Sandlin argued the public is “more likely to be attacked by a vending machine or a shopping cart at Albertsons than a wild animal.”

Sandlin said he’s spent more than $250,000 in fighting for Tony in court, and the tiger, at this point, is more of a liability than a financial asset. “But it’s not about the money.

“Over 25 years I’ve been bottle feeding them, wiping their buts, loving them and raising them…Every day I get to see the smiles of people’s faces, especially the children, that love to come stop here and see Tony.”

Sandlin said he was disappointed the addition of the amendment went short of grandfathering in his exhibit for the future, but the bill “would be a victory to get some justice” regarding Tony. He feels he’s been harassed and tried to follow the law, but new rules have “made criminals overnight” of law abiding, responsible private owners.

Morrell also noted the it sets a bad precedent to pass laws the could interfere or reverse rulings from the court system. Tony’s controversy has received interest from around the country and ink from the New York Times, prompting Sandlin to argue it’s mostly vocal activists outside of Louisiana who are advocating against his captivity at the truck stop.

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/04/tony_the_truck_stop_tiger_bato.html

More on SB 250 from @BornFreeUSA, Ace Bourke and @2TheAdvocate   Leave a comment

BFF 05 trophy.aiFrom Born Free USA:

S.B. 250 Adds Another Exemption for Big Cat Ownership

Sponsor(s): Sen. Rick Ward (R-17)

Born Free USA Position: OPPOSE

Update (4/14/14): The Senate Committee on Natural Resources amended the bill and removed the most harmful line. These changes are reflected in the italicized and stricken portions of the Bill Description below.

Bill Description:
Under present law, the secretary of the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission is allowed to create rules to control the importation and private possession of big exotic cats. Current law also requires that these rules provide exceptions for big cats traditionally kept by colleges and universities, animal sanctuaries, zoos, wildlife research centers, and scientific organizations and for owners who can prove previous ownership.

This bill would add an additional exception for owners who hold a USDA Class C exhibitor’s license. It also allows retroactive application of this exemption, so that Class C exhibitors who had to give up their big cats before may be able to get them back. This bill defines previous ownership as persons who obtained their animal by lawful means and continuously possessed their animal since August 15, 2006.

Background:
Class C exhibitor licenses are surprisingly easy to obtain and extremely broad in their coverage. They represent the bare minimum of animal welfare and public safety standards that an exhibitor is expected to meet. These licenses are often obtained and used as a loophole by private owners who wish to circumvent restrictions on private ownership of species such as big cats.

These lax standards have resulted in numerous tragedies — including severe injury and even death for both humans and animals. See our exotic animal incidents database for examples.

Tony the Truck Stop Tiger is a prime example of why ownership of exotic animals should not be allowed under such loose standards and poor enforcement. Tony is kept isolated and on display at a truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana by his “owner,” Michael Sandlin, who possesses a Class C exhibitor license. His truck stop has been cited by the USDA in the past for unsanitary feeding practices, mishandling tigers, failure to provide veterinary care, lack of shelter from inclement weather, lack of clean drinking water, and no knowledgeable employees to care for the tigers — but his exhibit has not been shut down. This bill would ensure that operations like the Tiger Truck Stop are able to remain open under Louisiana law. The fight for Tony is ongoing (read more here), and we must try to prevent other animals from suffering in the same conditions.

Read the full text and follow its progress here.

http://www.bornfreeusa.org/legislation.php?p=4213&more=1

sb 250 2From Ace Bourke’s Blog:

Tony the Tiger – Please sign this new petition urgently!

SIGN THE PETITION HERE to OPPOSE SB 250 and to UPHOLD Louisiana State Law PROHIBITING private ownership of tigers.

Louisiana Senator Rick Ward has introduced bill SB 250 seeking to: “exempt certain persons from the requirements of the big exotic cats rules” (specifically to allow Michael Sandlin to keep Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete Louisiana.) The bill is scheduled for Senate floor action TODAY.

Tony has been confined for all of his nearly 14 years. We all know that many many animals are confined and imprisoned all over the world, but somehow for me, Tony the Tiger – in a cage at a truck stop – is a symbol of all that is unacceptable in human-animal relationships.

Let’s do our best to get him released and make his last years peaceful and more enjoyable.

You can read more about the issue HERE and see what further actions we can take. Keep up to date with Tony the Tiger via Facebook and Twitter.

Please spread the word urgently!

Many thanks ACE

http://acebourke.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/tony-the-tiger-please-sign-this-new-petition-urgently/

ward pics

Sen. Ward’s Twitter profile picture (no longer posted)

From 2theadvocate:

Sen. Rick Ward sponsors a Bill that Exempts certain persons from the requirements of the big exotic cats rules. The bill is 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. For more information, visit http://legiscan.com/LA/amendment/SB250/id/15431 or https://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/ and share your opinion.

NOTE: Your comments OPPOSING SB 250 NEEDED on this post from 2theadvocate Click here: https://www.facebook.com/2theadvocatebr/posts/617528398331137?stream_ref=10

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