Archive for the ‘lawsuit’ Tag

The Animal Legal Defense Fund: Fighting On in Tony’s Memory   Leave a comment

Posted on October 18, 2017

During the last 48 hours since we learned of the death of Tony the tiger, everyone at the Animal Legal Defense Fund has been moved and comforted by the outpouring of love people have expressed for Tony. We fought multiple legal battles for over six years to free Tony and move him to a reputable sanctuary, and we still aren’t done. We have two Tony-related lawsuits that will continue in the wake of his passing and are seeking to learn more about how he died.

The first lawsuit seeks to uphold the constitutionality of the Louisiana Big Cat Ban, a 2006 law that prohibits the private possession of big cats. If successful, this lawsuit would ensure that Michael Sandlin, the owner of Tiger Truck Stop, cannot condemn another big cat to the kind of life Tony had. Sandlin is fighting hard to fill Tony’s truck stop parking lot cage with another tiger, and we will do everything we can to prevent that from happening.

The second lawsuit concerns the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) refusal to recognize Tony as an “individual.” In April, the Animal Legal Defense Fund requested that the USDA conduct an inspection of Tony after learning that his health was in decline. We submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the inspection report and requested 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.” Our request for expedited processing was denied because the USDA asserted that Tony is not an “individual.” In July, we sued the USDA for failure to recognize Tony as an “individual.” A victory in this lawsuit would enable the public to quickly obtain crucial information essential to protecting an animal’s wellbeing.

In addition, in the wake of Tony’s death we have made a request under the Louisiana Public Records Act, for a copy of Tony’s necropsy (an examination to determine the cause of death or disease) performed by Louisiana State University, where Tony died. We will carefully review it to determine what caused the alleged renal failure that led to Tony’s tragic death, and ensure it was not the result of improper care or treatment.

It is a tragedy that our years of litigation could not free Tony before his death. As Tony aged and his health appeared to decline, we feared this would happen, but the Animal Legal Defense Fund does not give up. We join the many advocates across the world in remembering Tony this week, and we promise to keep you updated on our work on behalf Tony and other animals like him.

http://aldf.org/blog/fighting-tonys-memory/

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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

 

 

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/

ALDF Files Motion to Expedite Hearing Regarding FOIA Request   Leave a comment

June 6, 2016 – Posted on Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Facebook page:

“Many of our supporters care about Tony the tiger. We told you in May that we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the USDA for the April evaluation of Tony’s health. We asked that the request be processed quickly.

This request was denied, and we filed an administrative appeal arguing that Tony, and all animals, qualify as individuals under the act. Today, after receiving a hearing for August 21, 2017, we filed a motion to expedite the hearing.

We believe that Tony cannot wait until August due to his urgent health concerns.”

Direct link to post: https://www.facebook.com/AnimalLegalDefenseFund/posts/10154482638261218

Timeline of Tony’s case: http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/timelines/tony-the-tiger/

For a more comprehensive overview of ALDF’s efforts to free Tony, check out their feature article: http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/features/tony-the-truck-stop-tiger/

ALDF’s Tony Eliseuson on Tony The Tiger Case   Leave a comment

If you missed ALDF’s Tony Eliseuson taking about Tony yesterday morning, you can listen here: http://talk1073.com/2017/05/19/new-legal-maneuvers-in-battle-over-tony-the-truck-stop-tiger/

New legal maneuvers in battle over Tony, the Truck Stop Tiger

AMBR’s Kevin Gallagher talks with Anthony Eliseuson, attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, about that groups latest efforts to wrest Tony away from Tiger Truck Stop Owner Michael Sandlin and place him in a reputable big cat sanctuary. Click below to hear the interview.

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/

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