Archive for the ‘lisa franzetta’ Tag

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/

 

Truck Stop Tiger Could Be Denied Legal Protections with New Louisiana Bill via @ALDF   Leave a comment

TONYThe following posted today from the Animal Legal Defense Fund:

Posted on April 22, 2014

Special Exemption Would Keep Tiger at Gross Tete Truck Stop; Advocates Urge Immediate Action

For immediate release:

Contact:
Lisa Franzetta, ALDF
Megan Backus, ALDF

BATON ROUGE — The national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is calling on the Louisiana state legislature today to defend existing protections for tigers, in light of a bill that could undo every victory made by the organization on Tony the tiger’s behalf. On April 9th, with less than one day’s notice, the Louisiana Senate Committee on Natural Resources rushed through approval of “SB 250.” SB 250 undermines a 2006 state law that bans private ownership of tigers and other large exotic cats by exempting “certain persons from the requirements of the big exotic cats rules.” The bill is an attempt to retroactively remove Tony’s protection under the 2006 law, and allow Michael Sandlin to retain possession of Tony—a 14 year old Siberian Bengal tiger confined at Grosse Tete’sTiger Truck Stop by Sandlin in violation of the state ban. The Senate is expected to debate the measure today.

Sandlin has been in illegal possession of Tony the tiger since 2000, displaying him in a cage at the Gross Tete truckstop where he is subjected to harmful fumes and excessive noise. In 2011, ALDF sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for unlawfully issuing Sandlin a permit to keep and exhibit Tony. ALDF was joined in the suit by several Louisiana taxpayers, including former Rep. Warren Triche, Jr, the sponsor of the 2006 ban, and has been receiving pro bono assistance from the law firm Baker Donelson. In April 2013, the Court of Appeal held that Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop were ineligible for a big cat permit and could no longer keep Tony. In October 2013, the Louisiana Supreme Court rejected Sandlin’s petition and let that decision stand.Triche explained, “Tony’s situation played a principal role in passing the 2006 bill, as he was a perfect example of why such legislation was needed.”

“ALDF’s Court of Appeals victory to help protect Tony the tiger still stands, yet Sandlin continues to try to undermine the law, year after year,” said Stephen Wells, executive director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund.“This bill was deviously snuck in the back door, with no notice, and is one more attempt from Sandlin to say he is not accountable by law and should receive special favors—Tony deserves the court to uphold the law.”

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

http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/truck-stop-tiger-could-be-denied-legal-protections-with-new-louisiana-bill/

Via Global Animal: Tony The Truck Stop Tiger Triumphs!   Leave a comment

By on October 10, 2013

Sonia Horon, Global Animal

The fight to free Tony, the Siberian-Bengal tiger famously caged and put on display at Grosse Tete, Louisiana’s Tiger Truck Stop, continues. The Louisiana Supreme Court has denied a petition to review the Court of Appeal’s decision, which ruled in favor of the captive tiger.

The Louisiana Court of Appeal ruled that Michael Sandlin, the person responsible for caging the tiger, did not in fact have the right to a grandfather permit, which would allow him to keep the tiger in spite of the state’s exotic cat laws.

Tony, a Bengal-Siberian tiger, resides at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, LA. Photo Credit: Jennifer Zdon, NY Times

Tony, a Bengal-Siberian tiger, resides at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, LA. Photo Credit: Jennifer Zdon, NY Times

In 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for wrongfully releasing the permit allowing Sandlin to cage and display Tony. Sandlin has been attempting to challenge the ruling, but the Supreme Court has shut him down.

Unfortunately Sandlin, who clearly has no actual interest in Tony’s well-being, declared if he is forced to give up the tiger, he will send the animal to the notoriously negligent G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.

G.W. Exotic is famous for it’s exploitation of tiger cubs. The roadside zoo was investigated by the Humane Society of the United States last year after 23 of G.W. Exotic’s imprisoned baby tigers died. During the investigation, five more captive tigers died under the facility’s “care.”

The park’s owner, Joe Schreibvogel, or “Joe Exotic,” is possibly the largest private owner of tigers in the U.S., with as many as 200 tigers and more than 1,000 other animals. Just last weekend, the controversial park became the subject of further controversy after a woman was attacked by a tiger on the premises.

Megan Backus from ALDF says their non-profit law organization is doing everything in their power to ensure that Tony will not be going to this wildlife jail.

“ALDF is asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to investigate the horrific attack at G.W. Exotic.

Given the animal welfare and public safety failings at G.W. Exotic, ALDF is calling on LDWF to ensure that Tony is transferred to a legitimate and reputable sanctuary. Sending Tony to G.W. Exotic would violate both Louisiana and Oklahoma state laws.”

More Stories On Captive Tigers:

Caged Tiger Fights Back At Oklahoma Zoo

Animal Intervention Saves Captive Wildlife (VIDEO)

HSUS Cracks Down On Nation’s Largest Exotic Animal Owner (VIDEO)

The Truth About Tiger’s Cubs’ Mysterious Deaths

Tiger Clubs Exploited In America’s Malls Of Shame (VIDEO)

Lovestruck Tiger Chooses Freedom

Ohio Says No To Backyard Bears And Other Exotic Pets

Direct Link To Article: http://globalanimal.org/2013/10/10/tony-the-truck-stop-tiger-triumphs/

Via Animal Legal Defense Fund: Louisiana Supreme Court Allows Victory for Tiger to Stand   Leave a comment

aldf tony barsThe following was posted today by the Animal Legal Defense Fund:

Posted on October 7, 2013

For immediate release:

Contact:
Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Last Friday, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied a petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeal in the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) ongoing case to protect Tony, the Siberian-Bengal tiger confined at Grosse Tete, Louisiana’s Tiger Truck Stop by Michael Sandlin. In 2011, ALDF sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for unlawfully issuing a permit to Sandlin to keep and exhibit Tony. With pro bono assistance from Baker Donelson, ALDF was joined in the suit by several Louisiana taxpayers, including Warren Triche, the state representative who authored the Louisiana state law banning private ownership of tigers. In April of this year, the Court of Appeal held that Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are ineligible for a big cat permit and can no longer keep Tony. Sandlin sought review of that decision, but last Friday the state Supreme Court declined to take the case. Although Sandlin could appeal further to the U.S. Supreme Court, the lawsuit raises no issues of federal law, so the Court could not grant review.

Meanwhile, on October 5, an employee at G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma was attacked by an adult male tiger and almost lost her arm. Michael Sandlin has declared his intention to send Tony to G.W. Exotic if forced to relinquish him. The controversial zoo has been the subject of undercover investigations and houses more than 200 dangerous exotic animals that it breeds and uses for public interaction. ALDF is asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to investigate the horrific attack at G.W. Exotic. Given the animal welfare and public safety failings at G.W. Exotic, ALDF is calling on LDWF to ensure that Tony is transferred to a legitimate and reputable sanctuary. Sending Tony to G.W. Exotic would violate both Louisiana and Oklahoma state laws.

Still ongoing is Sandlin’s own lawsuit, alleging that the Louisiana state ban on private ownership of dangerous exotic animals is unconstitutional.

“We are relieved to see this case reach its end,” said Matthew Liebman, senior attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Nearly three years after we asked the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries not to issue a permit to the Tiger Truck Stop, the highest court in the state has declined to prolong this case further. We call upon the Department to do the right thing and send Tony to a reputable sanctuary, before we face another tiger tragedy.”

http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/louisiana-supreme-court-allows-victory-for-tiger-to-stand/

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NOTES:

Zoo worker attacked by tiger in OK
http://www.fox23.com/news/local/story/Zoo-worker-attacked-by-tiger-in-OK/dWwlhtpYrE-5-O2RDUaLeg.cspx

HSUS Undercover Investigation Reveals Dead Tigers, Safety Threats at Oklahoma’s GW Exotic Animal Park
http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2012/05/ok_exotics_investigation.html

Tony’s Petition:
LDWF: Ensure Tony The Tiger Is Released To A Reputable Sanctuary
http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

Judge won’t order truck stop tiger’s removal   Leave a comment

By Staff reports
Associated Press
Posted May 04, 2012 @ 09:30 AM

BASTROP, La. —

A state judge has refused to order the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to remove an 11-year-old tiger from a truck stop in Grosse Tete.

Judge Michael Caldwell ruled Thursday that he cannot order the executive branch to do that. He also ruled that the Animal Legal Defense Fund and two plaintiffs don’t have legal standing to bring up the question.

“There is no legal means for a private citizen to go to a court and ask the judge to order another branch of government to perform what is essentially a discretionary function,” said Jennifer Treadway Morris, attorney for Michael Sandlin and his Tiger Truck Stop Inc.

Lisa Franzetta, spokeswoman for the nonprofit group, said it was considering whether to appeal Thursday’s decision.

In November, Caldwell ordered the department to revoke the permit for a tiger at Tiger Truck Stop.

ALDF sued last month, saying the department refused to confiscate the animal from the truck stop and its owner, Michael Sandlin, because it has appealed Caldwell’s November decision and Sandlin had challenged the constitutionality of Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of big cats.

“In no way does today’s ruling affect the judge’s previous ruling that Michael Sandlin and Tiger Truck Stop can’t be granted a permit to keep Tony,” Franzetta said. “We were trying to speed up the process of getting Tony away from the truck stop.”

Treadway Morris and attorneys for the Animal Legal Defense Fund will be back in State District Court on Monday. Judge Janice Clark has scheduled a hearing on the group’s request to intervene in Sandlin’s lawsuit.

http://www.bastropenterprise.com/newsnow/x1120195486/Judge-wont-order-truck-stop-tigers-removal

ALDF Back in Court Demanding State Take Action on Tony the Truck Stop Tiger, Now Exhibited Without a Permit   Leave a comment

From The Animal Legal Defense Fund:

April 5th, 2012

After Baton Rouge Court’s Ruling Revoking Invalid Permit, ALDF Files Lawsuit Demanding Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Put an End to Owner’s Illegal Possession of the Big Cat

For immediate release

Contact:
Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Baton Rouge, La. – This morning, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit to force the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to do its job of enforcing Louisiana’s big cat ban in the case of Tony, Grosse Tete’s “truck stop tiger.” Michael Sandlin’s permit to keep Tony, an eleven-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, expired in December, yet he has continued to keep Tony confined at the Tiger Truck Stop, in open violation of state law. ALDF’s lawsuit would compel the Department to take steps to enforce the law and report Sandlin’s illegal possession of Tony to local law enforcement for prosecution. In addition, ALDF, along with two Louisiana residents, today filed a petition to intervene in Sandlin’s current lawsuit against the state; the interveners seek to defend the state’s law banning private ownership of big cats. The law offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. are providing pro bono assistance with the lawsuit and the petition to intervene.

In November 2011, the East Baton Rouge District Court granted ALDF’s request for a permanent injunction against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, ordering the Department to revoke the permit that allowed Sandlin to display Tony as a roadside exhibit at the truck stop where he has languished for over a decade. Despite the fact that Sandlin’s permit expired in December and cannot be renewed, he continues to display Tony, in violation of the big cat law, which the Department is responsible for enforcing.

“The state of Louisiana has explicit regulations designed to protect tigers like Tony, and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is required to enforce them” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The court has already granted Tony and ALDF a victory by ruling that Michael Sandlin’s permit to display Tony was illegal. Sandlin, now without a permit, cannot be allowed to continue to exploit this tiger with impunity.”

Meanwhile, Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are suing the state, arguing that Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of big cats like Tony is unconstitutional—flying in the face of the current national sentiment that dangerous exotic animals should be more strictly regulated. Ohio is currently considering a bill that would ban new ownership of captive wild animals, following the massacre of 48 animals including lions, tigers, and bears, who were released by their Zanesville owner last October. Additionally, in February, a bipartisan bill—the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act”—was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would prohibit the breeding and private possession of captive big cats. ALDF’s petition in intervention supports Louisiana’s power to safeguard public safety and animal welfare through such legislative measures.

http://www.aldf.org/article.php?id=2023

FTTT Note: Please support Tony’s petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

Judge denies new trial motion for tiger owner   Leave a comment

BY KIMBERLY VETTER
Advocate Staff Writer
December 12, 2011

The latest effort to keep Tony, a 550-pound siberian-bengal tiger, at a Grosse Tete truck stop has failed.

State District Judge Mike Caldwell denied Tuesday a motion for a new trial filed on behalf of Michael Sandlin, owner of Tiger Truck Stop Inc. near Interstate 10 in Iberville Parish.

The motion was filed Nov. 20 after Caldwell ruled the tiger would not be permitted to remain at Sandlin’s truck stop.

Sandlin’s attorney, Steve LeBlanc, said Friday he would file a motion with the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals to put the judge’s orders on hold and to permit a suspensive appeal, which would allow Sandlin to keep Tony at the truck stop until after an appellate decision has been rendered.

Bo Boehringer, a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesman, said Caldwell’s judgment isn’t final until the appeal process runs its course. If Sandlin’s appeal is denied, Boehringer said his agency would give Sandlin 30 days to move Tony to a sanctuary of Sandlin’s choosing.

Sandlin, who was not available Friday for comment, has said he would send Tony to GW Exotic Animal Memorial Park in Wynnewood, Okla., if he loses his appeals.

The owner of the park, Joe Schreibvogel, said he currently has a 5,000-square-foot cage ready for Tony and is trying to raise money to build him a 10,000-square-foot habitat with a swimming pool, waterfall and shade trees.

The habitat would cost at least $120,000, Schreibvogel said, adding his business has only raised $100 toward the cause.

A letter Schreibvogel sent earlier this month to park supporters said money donated to Big Cat Rescue, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Care2 on behalf of “their Free Tony the Tiger campaigns” should “pay for the construction of a new habitat for Tony the Tiger.”

“It’s time the tiger gets what he deserves,” Schreibvogel said.

Carole Baskin, chief executive officer of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla., said her organization raised a small amount of money in 2009 to pay for legal fees regarding its fight to move Tony from his current home.

Baskin said she is willing to house the tiger and doesn’t need any money to do so.

“We’ve had an enclosure waiting for him since 2009,” she said.

Lisa Franzetta, communications director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said her organization has contacted accredited sanctuaries that are willing and able to take Tony at no cost to Sandlin or to the state of Louisiana.

“The fact that GW Exotics is asking for public money just proves how unprepared and ill-equipped they are to care for Tony,” she said.

Representatives for Care2 were not available for comment.

http://theadvocate.com/home/1546068-125/judge-denies-new-trial-motion.html

Judge: Tiger must be moved   Leave a comment

Bill Lodge
Advocate staff writer
November 03, 2011
 
Tony, a 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger, is not permitted by Louisiana law to remain at a Grosse Tete truck stop, state District Judge Mike Caldwell ruled Wednesday in Baton Rouge.

Caldwell issued a similar ruling in May, but the state’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeal directed him to hold a second hearing that included arguments on behalf of Michael Sandlin, owner of Tiger Truck Stop Inc. near Interstate 10 in Iberville Parish.

“The intent of the law is on my side,” Sandlin insisted after the hearing.

Sandlin and his attorney, Steve LeBlanc, said Caldwell’s latest decision will be appealed.

LeBlanc said he will ask the 1st Circuit to permit a suspensive appeal, which would allow Sandlin to keep Tony at the truck stop until after an appellate decision has been rendered.

Caldwell concluded Wednesday that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries violated its own rules by exempting Sandlin and Tiger Truck Stop from permit requirements for owners of big cats.

Caldwell ordered Wildlife and Fisheries to pay all costs of the proceedings, which were initiated by a civil suit filed by the nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Frederick Whitrock, attorney for Wildlife and Fisheries, would not comment on Caldwell’s decision after the hearing.

Bo Boehringer, deputy press secretary for Wildlife and Fisheries, later said: “The judge’s decision is being reviewed right now. We don’t have a statement at this time.”

Lisa Franzetta, communications director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said Caldwell’s ruling was in the best interest of the tiger and public safety.

“We believe Tony shouldn’t be kept there,” Franzetta said. “He shouldn’t be kept at a truck stop as a roadside show.”

Franzetta added the big cat should “live out his life in an accredited sanctuary.”

If he loses his appeals, Sandlin said, “Where Tony goes is up to me.”

Sandlin said he would send Tony to GW Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Okla.

“If I had to relocate him tomorrow, that’s where he would go,” Sandlin added.

“That’s not an accredited sanctuary,” Franzetta said. She added that the Animal Legal Defense Fund will research state laws for a means of sending Tony to such a sanctuary.

“That’s our endgame in this case,” Franzetta added.

http://theadvocate.com/news/1231711-123/judge-tiger-must-be-moved.html

Video from The Associated Press: Truck Stop Tiger’s Home Endangered After Ruling   Leave a comment

Video from The Associated Press: A state judge sided with an animal rights group in the fight with a Louisiana truck stop owner over whether he can keep a 550-pound tiger at his business. (Nov. 3)

Judge: Illegal permit issued to keep live tiger   Leave a comment

Posted:Nov 02, 2011 3:30 PM EDT || Updated:Nov 02, 2011 9:57 PM EDT

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) –

A state judge has ruled that a permit issued to a Louisiana truck stop to keep a live tiger on display was illegally issued. The ruling, if upheld, means the truck stop can no longer keep the tiger.  However, lawyers for the truck stop owner say they will appeal the ruling.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund had already won a ruling that said the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries could not issue a permit allowing the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La., to continue exhibiting a live tiger as a roadside attraction. The tiger is known as “Tony”.

“If I could thank the advocates for anything at all, what isn’t much, I’d thank them for a million dollars worth of free advertising,” said Mike Sandlin, owner of Tiger Truck Stop.

District Judge Mike Caldwell ruled Wednesday that a permit issued to the truck stop was illegally issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Caldwell did not give a time frame for when the tiger must be removed.

“We think the judge is totally wrong in his decision,” said defense attorney Steve Leblanc. “The first circuit reversed him before in this case on a motion for a new trial we filed and we hope they will reverse him again.”

Wildlife officials say Tony is the last privately-owned big, exotic cat in the state.

The defense fund wants the tiger moved to a more natural setting to live out its life.

“Our hope is that Tony will soon be at a reputable sanctuary where his needs can better be met than they are living on the side of a highway at a truck stop,” said Lisa Franzetta with the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

http://www.wafb.com/story/15937546/ruling-tiger-must-be

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