Archive for the ‘lawsuit’ Tag

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

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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

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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

Animal rights group @ALDF not giving up on ‘Tony’   Leave a comment

tony_tigerThe nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund will be in a Baton Rouge courtroom Monday arguing its case in a lawsuit it filed against the state, the Wildlife & Fisheries Commission and Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin.

The suit comes after state lawmakers during the spring/summer legislative session grandfathered in Sandlin’s ownership of a 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger he keeps in a cage as a roadside attraction at his Grosse Tete business off Interstate 10. The bill, now known as Act 697, came after years of court battles between ALDF and Sandlin — battles the animal rights group repeatedly won and that lead to a state district judge order Wildlife & Fisheries to revoke Sandlin’s permit to keep the tiger.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of former state Rep. Warren Triche Jr., who sponsored a 2006 approved by the Legislature and signed by then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco banning private ownership of large, exotic cats.

From a press release issued by ALDF:

The sole purpose of Act 697 is to allow Sandlin to keep the 14-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger caged in a gas station parking lot by exempting Sandlin from Louisiana’s 2006 ban, a law Sandlin had broken for years. Act 697 undoes legal victories achieved by ALDF on Tony the tiger’s behalf, and retroactively removes protections Tony received under the ban. In a separate lawsuit, the Louisiana courts held that Sandlin’s captivity of Tony violated state law.

“Act 697 violates the Louisiana Constitution and the intent of the 2006 ban, which was passed unanimously by the Louisiana legislature,” said Stephen Wells, executive director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Louisianans want Tony to live in a reputable sanctuary, not a gas station parking lot—and they don’t want their representatives to hand out special privileges to lawbreakers like the Tiger Truck Stop, which profits from animal suffering.”

http://www.theind.com/news/indnews/19631-animal-rights-group-not-giving-up-on-tony

via @ALDF: Animal Legal Defense Fund Back in Court to Protect Tony the Tiger From Losing Statutory Protection   Leave a comment

tony deePosted on November 14, 2014

Direct Link: http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-legal-defense-fund-back-in-court-to-protect-tony-the-tiger-from-losing-statutory-protection/

For immediate release:

Contact:
Megan Backus, ALDF
Lisa Franzetta, ALDF

BATON ROUGE — Arguments will be heard Monday in a lawsuit brought by the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to protect Tony, a tiger living at Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop. The lawsuit alleges that Louisiana lawmakers violated the state’s constitutional prohibition on “special laws” when they exempted Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, from existing animal welfare and public safety laws by passing Act 697 in June. ALDF is representing former Louisiana Representative Warren Triche, Jr. (who sponsored the 2006 ban on private ownership of dangerous large exotic cats) and other Louisiana residents and taxpayers. The Tiger Truck Stop has asked the court to dismiss ALDF’s lawsuit against the State of Louisiana, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Tiger Truck Stop and owner Michael Sandlin.

Where: 19th Judicial District Court, Division 23, Room 8a, 300 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA.

When: Monday, November 17, 2014. 9:30am CT

The sole purpose of Act 697 is to allow Sandlin to keep the 14-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger caged in a gas station parking lot by exempting Sandlin from Louisiana’s 2006 ban, a law Sandlin had broken for years. Act 697 undoes legal victories achieved by ALDF on Tony the tiger’s behalf, and retroactively removes protections Tony received under the ban. In a separate lawsuit, the Louisiana courts held that Sandlin’s captivity of Tony violated state law.

“Act 697 violates the Louisiana Constitution and the intent of the 2006 ban, which was passed unanimously by the Louisiana legislature,” said Stephen Wells, executive director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Louisianans want Tony to live in a reputable sanctuary, not a gas station parking lot—and they don’t want their representatives to hand out special privileges to lawbreakers like the Tiger Truck Stop, which profits from animal suffering.”

Copies of the lawsuit and photographs of Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop are available upon request.

FTTT Note: Please leave your comments in support of ALDF’s efforts and Tony’s re-homing to a big cat sanctuary at the direct link: http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-legal-defense-fund-back-in-court-to-protect-tony-the-tiger-from-losing-statutory-protection/

 

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

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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.

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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/

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