Archive for the ‘lawsuit’ Tag

Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Legal Battle to Free Tony the Tiger Moves Forward   Leave a comment

Re-posting from Animal Legal Defense Fund:

Posted on March 28, 2017

Petition Filed to Intervene in Tony the Truck Stop Tiger Lawsuit 

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

BATON ROUGE, La. – This week, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed an amended petition to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit against the state of Louisiana, as part of its campaign to free Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger held in a cage at Gross Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop. Michael Sandlin, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, keeps 16-year-old Tony in his gas station parking lot, amidst diesel fumes and the roar of the adjacent highway. The amended intervention petition is the latest step in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s years-long battle to have Tony moved to a reputable sanctuary.

Sandlin has been able to maintain captivity of Tony despite a state law banning private possession of big cats, because Sandlin successfully lobbied Louisiana to pass Act 697, a law exempting Sandlin – and only Sandlin – from the big cat ban. The Animal Legal Defense Fund argues that this “one man exemption” violates the state constitution, which prohibits “special laws” designed to benefit a specific private individual or interest.  The law firms Jones Walker, Proskauer Rose, and Baker Donelson are providing pro bono representation in the case.

“We have worked continuously to free Tony the Truck Stop Tiger for almost six years,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We will continue to work on his behalf until he is relocated to a sanctuary equipped to meet his psychological and physical needs.”

Former Representative Warren Triche Jr. championed the 2006 ban on private possession of big, exotic cats. He was inspired, in part, to introduce the legislation by the reprehensible conditions that Tony is forced to endure. Former Representative Triche is now joining with the Animal Legal Defense Fund in the amended petition to challenge Act 697 and restore the purpose of the original 2006 ban.

In August 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries after it unlawfully granted Sandlin an exhibition permit for Tony. The court ruled in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s favor and ordered the department to revoke Sandlin’s permit. The Louisiana Court of Appeals upheld the ruling in 2013, but Tony remains in captivity at the Tiger Truck Stop because of Act 697.

For more information visit, aldf.org

A Captive Tiger Touches Hearts at Palisades Park Library   Leave a comment

tony-painting-watermarkedHow does a tiger caged at a Louisiana truck stop become the subject of a watercolor painting exhibited in a New Jersey library?

Excerpt from “A Captive Tiger Touches Hearts at Palisades Park Library”
PALISADES PARK —Newly mounted in the public library is a watercolor portrait of a 550-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger, his expressive yellow eyes obscured by a chain-link fence and metal bars. It’s based on a dreamlike scene that recently unfolded before Darlene De Santis, a supervisor at the library, when she pulled into a truck stop off Interstate 10 in Grosse Tete, La., a village of a few hundred people about 20 miles west of Baton Rouge. “It’s surreal,” she said. “There’s a cage with a tiger.”

Complete article: http://www.northjersey.com/news/a-captive-tiger-touches-hearts-at-palisades-park-library-1.1661721

Thank you: Steve Cavallo for his amazing work on this portrait of Tony, the Palisades Park Library and everyone who supported this project.

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Tony: Another Year At Tiger Truck Stop   Leave a comment

tony july4

July 2016 marks Tony’s 16th year of captivity at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana – 16 years exploited as a roadside attraction.

This blog for Tony began back in 2009 shortly after learning about him from Big Cat Rescue – Tampa FL.  Tony’s story was shocking, unbelievable, and sad – our hope was to give it more public attention and engage organizations that could help him. Social media bolstered Tony’s saga worldwide with his blog, and presence on Twitter (two accounts @FreeTonyTiger and @TonyTiger2000,) Facebook, Youtube and Instagram.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund took on Tony’s case. The permit issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was found illegal and revoked in 2011 by Judge Michael Caldwell; this decision was upheld by The Louisiana Court of Appeal and the Louisiana Supreme Court.  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.) The Animal Legal Defense Fund has been working tirelessly on Tony’s case and has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Louisiana taxpayers, challenging the state’s new special exemption.

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 champion the bill. Visit: http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-act/ for more information.

We remain positive for Tony and supportive of the efforts to secure his release to a big cat sanctuary. We Thank ALL of Tony’s friends for your dedicated support and ask you to please keep involved on his social media sites. If you visit Tony please share your pictures and videos with us by emailing tonythetruckstoptiger2016@gmail.com

Special Thanks: The Animal Legal Defense Fund and sanctuaries Big Cat Rescue, The Wildcat Sanctuary and The Wild Animal Sanctuary.

Criminal: Showdown At The Tiger Truck Stop   Leave a comment

criminal tony
Jul 1, 2016

 

The Criminal podcast team recently took a trip to Louisiana to visit Tony.

 

Interviewed are Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin, Jeff Dorson of Louisiana’s Humane Society and ALDF’s Carney Anne Nasser, Senior Counsel for Wildlife and Regulatory Affairs.

 

Tony and his imprisonment at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana continue to be a hot topic.

 

Criminal?? WE ROAR YES!

Thanks Animal Legal Defense Fund for your commitment to Tony – You have the worldwide support of Tony’s friends as we work together for his release to a reputable sanctuary.

Click below to listen to the podcast.

 

 

 

 

This Tiger In Louisiana Proves We Need Stricter Animal Welfare Laws via Elite Daily   Leave a comment

Repost from Elite Daily by Amanda Holley

Comments supporting tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary are appreciated at the article’s direct link: http://elitedaily.com/life/truck-stop-tiger-animal-welfare/1502326/

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Recently, I have had the great pleasure of road tripping from Massachusetts down to Texas. This is truly a wonderful experience because you get to see many of the beautiful sites this country has to offer. We drove through the beautiful, open landscape of Virginia, were dwarfed by the skyscrapers of New York City, mystified by the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and then abruptly disgusted by a tiger being kept in a cage at a truck stop in the Louisiana bayou.

Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Just in case you didn’t process it (because I still really can’t), there is a TIGER being kept in a CAGE at a TRUCK STOP in Louisiana. There are only about 2,500 left in the wild, but don’t worry. There is one at a freaking truck stop in the boondocks.

Part of me wanted to turn around just to go spit in the faces of the people who think it’s OK to keep a tiger in a cage at a truck stop, but part of me thought they might be the kind of people who liked that. So, instead, I researched and decided to give Tony a voice instead.

Tony The Truck Stop Tiger is a Siberian-Bengal Tiger that has lived at the Tiger Truck Stops in Grosse Tete, Louisiana for more than a decade. He lives in isolation, constantly breathing in exhaust fumes. Aside from breathing in hazardous air, his cage is not enriched and not large enough to support the type of lifestyle tigers typically live. In the wild, tigers are solitary animals that travel hundreds of miles a day. They have very acute hearing, so the constant sounds of large truck engines and the taunting of truck stop visitors is very disruptive to Tony.

The lack of space to exercise, on top of the toxic fumes and constant noises, have left Tony in very poor condition. Vets report that he paces around the cage, which is a behavior tigers partake in when they are stressed. This is a clear sign that action needs to be taken soon for Tony’s welfare.

With the wonders of social media nowadays, huge progress has been made for animal rights. Awareness is spread, good information is falling on listening ears and caring hearts and it is benefitting the welfare of animals everywhere. The best example of this is “Black Fish,” the documentary that ultimately resulted in SeaWorld no longer being able to imprison orcas in bathtubs. However, it seemed strange to me that I had heard about the tiger that just died in Indonesia’s death zoo. Yet, until this road trip, I had not heard of Tony The Truck Stop Tiger.

In today’s world, where we know so much about animal welfare, it blows my mind that this atrocity can even happen, especially since laws like the Big Cat Law are in place to prevent backwoods tool bags from privately owning big cats. So, how is it that something like this can even happen? Why does it happen? And, most importantly, how can we stop this?

The why is simple. Tony is being exploited for the same reason all animals are exploited by humans: Money. The owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, Michael Sandlin, has been exploiting tigers for decades because it lines his pocket. In a state like Louisiana, the tiger business is booming due to state pride in the LSU Tigers (the university has no involvement with Tony).

However, paying for the cost of properly caring for a tiger is obviously not part of Mr. Sandlin’s agenda. In 2003 the USDA cited Sandlin for failure to provide veterinary care for the tigers (he used to have more than just Tony, but was ordered to give them up), improper shelter for the tigers, lack of clean drinking water and lack of qualified employees to care for the tigers. At this point in time, three tigers were removed from Mr. Sandlin’s care. Tony was left behind.

So, how is it that Sandlin is still allowed to keep Tony? Again, this answer is fairly obvious: money and corrupt politics. The Louisiana Department Of Wildlife And Fisheries was successfully sued in 2010 by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) for illegally issuing Sandlin a permit to exhibit Tony. Although Sandlin appealed, the higher court stuck with the decision to revoke the permit because they had Tony’s best interest at heart.

In 2014, however, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed an act that provided Sandlin an exemption to the 2006 law that prohibited the private ownership of dangerous and exotic large cats. Sandlin is still in the midst of countersuing to obtain a permit, but continues to display Tony as a gimmick in the meantime.

Now, here’s the one question I do not have an answer for: What can we do? For now, the ALDF is fighting the legal war with Michael Sandlin for Tony’s release. Much like the legal war that was fought with SeaWorld, it is going to be an exhausting battle. But hopefully Tony can get the happy ending he deserves.

Giving him a voice, however, is something we can do. I had not heard of Tony The Truck Stop Tiger until I passed a billboard advertising him on I-10W in Louisiana. It’s not a nice story to have come across, but hopefully it will now fall onto listening ears and caring hearts, and we can play a role in getting Tony into a sanctuary to live out the rest of his days in a prideful, dignified way that he and all tigers deserve.

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

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