Archive for the ‘lisa franzetta’ Tag

Video from WBRZ on Today’s Hearings   Leave a comment

Please see video at this link: http://www.wbrz.com/videoplayer/?video_id=9348&categories=58

Louisiana Judge Pulls Permit for Truck Stop Tiger   Leave a comment

In this in Nov. 2008, file photo, Tony the tiger paces in his cage in Grosse Tete, La. (AP Photo/ The Advocate, Patrick Dennis, File)

By MARY FOSTER Associated Press

GROSSE TETE, La. November 3, 2011 (AP)
Leonard Foster peered into the cage holding the 550-pound tiger at the Tiger Truck Stop in Louisiana and snapped one photo after another in awe.

“He’s so big. He’s wonderful,” exclaimed Foster, a 47-year-old trucker from Atlanta.

Foster might just be lucky to see the tiger when he did. If a state district judge’s ruling stands, this tiger named Tony may not be at the truck stop much longer. And gone will be one of the biggest curiosities for truckers and motorists coming off a nearby interstate into the south Louisiana community of Grosse Tete.

Judge Mike Caldwell ruled Wednesday in favor of a motion by the Animal Legal Defense Fund to force the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the permit that allows Tiger Truck Stop Inc. and its owner, Michael Sandlin, to keep the tiger at the business.

For years, the Siberian-Bengal mix has been a draw for gawking motorists who patronize this truck stop, buying food, gassing up and sticking around to get a picture with Tony. Since he was 11 weeks old, Tony has been at the truck stop, bottle fed as a cub.

Sandlin and the truck stop company argue that moving the tiger now would be cruel.

But Caldwell disagreed. His ruling also would bar Wildlife and Fisheries from issuing a new permit to keep Tony at the stop. He ruled that the agency failed to abide by its own rules in issuing the permit, rules that state tigers must be owned by an individual. The corporation that owns the truck stop is listed as the tiger’s owner.

Caldwell had issued a similar ruling in May. But in August, an appeals court ruled Caldwell had to hold another hearing to collect input from Tiger Truck Stop Inc. and Sandlin.

Sandlin’s attorney, Steve LeBlanc, pointed out in court that seven other tigers beside Tony have been kept at the truck stop in the past 22 years and none ever escaped.

The truck stop is neatly kept, flowers blooming outside, on a quiet road away from the interstate. The cage has a grassy area, a large water tank for Tony to swim in, hanging tire and other toys — even shade and an air-conditioned den.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund contends it’s dangerous holding a big tiger at a business. It recalled last month’s episode when an owner of exotic wildlife in Ohio released wild animals before taking his life.

“Louisiana has a law designed to protect people from animals like this,” said Lisa Franzetta, a defense fund spokeswoman.

Wildlife and Fisheries has rules requiring the owner of such an animal to live on the premises. But Sandlin’s home is about five miles away, even though an employee lives at the stop and the business is staffed around the clock every day of the year.

Sandlin said all employees have taken the state hunter safety course, there’s a written plan to handle an escape and a “kill gun” and a tranquilizer gun are kept at the stop.

The 3,600-square-foot cage is surrounded by a 10-foot chain link fence topped with barbed wire, set back several feet.

“I’ve seen the exhibit and I think the tiger is safe from the public and the public is safe from him,” said Rick Dietz, general curator at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. “That does not rule out operator error, but that could happen anywhere.”

But on this sunny afternoon, the tiger paced languidly and none watching cited safety concerns.

One man ate fried chicken nearby. Another sought a picture of himself and the tiger behind him.

“I don’t worry about it being unsafe,” said Ricky Arnold, a local who brought his 3-year-old son. “He’s got that big old cage and nothing has happened all these years.”

The defense fund has argued the enclosure is substandard and the arrangement unsuitable.

“It’s just common sense that a tiger doesn’t belong in a truck stop,” Franzetta said.

Sandlin notes the pen and the tiger are inspected annually by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Neither he nor Wildlife and Fisheries have decided if they will appeal Wednesday’s ruling. Sandlin said he was more inclined to sue authorities to force them to issue another permit.

“I’ve done everything they ever told me to do,” he said, tears brimming in his eyes. “There is no reason to say I can’t keep my tiger. He is my pet, not just an advertising gimmick.”

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/louisiana-judge-pulls-permit-truck-stop-tiger-14870309?singlePage=true

Judge rules Tony the Tiger can’t stay at truck stop   Leave a comment

Posted by Alex Woodward on Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Following a legal battle among Baton Rouge courts, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin, a judge today ruled that Sandlin’s big cat — a 550-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger — can no longer be kept at the truck stop.

This afternoon, Judge Michael Caldwell ruled that Sandlin’s current permit to keep the cat (issued by the LDWF) was illegally issued, must be revoked, and can’t be renewed. “We’re delighted,” said ALDF communications director Lisa Franzetta. “The judge got the letter of law right.”

In April, the ALDF slapped a lawsuit against the LDWF and its secretary Robert Barham, arguing that he “violated state law in granting a permit allowing Sandlin to exhibit Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop,” in particular Act 715, prohibiting citizens from keeping a tiger as a pet or exhibiting a tiger in the state, grandfathering in individuals who legally owned big cats as of August 15, 2006. But, ALDF argued, “These owners would need to apply for an annual permit from the LDWF. An ordinance passed in Sandlin’s parish of Iberville in 1993 made it illegal for anyone to keep a tiger or other large exotic cat on his or her premises for exhibition. In other words, Sandlin did not qualify for the exception because he was not in legal possession of Tony.” So that’s that.

In August, Caldwell ruled to review the case to include Sandlin in the hearing. Today, Caldwell sided with ALDF.

“Our concerns are the conditions in which Tony is kept,” Franzetta said. She said the organization wants to
ensure Tony has the resources to “make sure he ends up at a sanctuary” for big cats.

http://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2011/11/02/judge-rules-tony-the-tiger-cant-stay-at-truck-stop

Attorneys Fighting to Free Tony the Truck Stop Tiger Head Back to Court for New Trial   1 comment

November 1st, 2011

Court Will Rule on Standing of Tony Supporters to Fight for Him in Court, Will Once Again Decide His Fate

For immediate release

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

Baton Rouge, La. – Tomorrow morning, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and outraged Louisiana residents return to East Baton Rouge District Court to square off against the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La., where Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger, has been confined as a roadside exhibit for over a decade. The same court granted ALDF’s original request for a permanent injunction in May 2011, a ruling that would have prevented the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries from renewing in December the annual permit that allows Michael Sandlin, owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, to keep Tony on display. In August, the Louisiana Court of Appeals ruled that Michael Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop must be named as defendants in the lawsuit and ordered a new trial, vacating the trial court’s earlier decision. In addition to this new trial, the Court will consider a motion by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to contest the plaintiffs’ standing to bring the lawsuit to free Tony.

When:

Wednesday, November 2, 9:00 a.m.

Where:
East Baton Rouge District Courthouse
Room 8B (Judge R. Michael Caldwell’s courtroom)
300 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge

Since ALDF filed its original lawsuit in April 2011, it has argued that the Department violated state law in granting the permit to Michael Sandlin. In tomorrow’s hearing, the Court will again hear ALDF’s argument that Sandlin’s permit to own and display Tony should be invalidated, and that Tony should be released into the custody of ALDF or an accredited animal sanctuary where he can receive care and treatment and live out his life in a more natural environment, free from the 24-hour exposure to noise and diesel fumes and the taunts of visitors. ALDF is requesting both a permanent injunction, which would mean the state could not renew Sandlin’s permit in December, and a mandatory injunction, which would require that Sandlin’s current permit be revoked. The Court may choose to issue a decision in the case immediately following the hearing.

Tony has been on exhibit at the Tiger Truck Stop since 2000; he has lived there with no other tiger companions since 2003. ALDF’s lawsuit to free Tony has drawn the support of high profile advocates like Leonardo DiCaprio and True Blood’s Kristin Bauer and has galvanized activists around the world. The law offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. are providing pro bono assistance with the lawsuit.

“The Animal Legal Defense Fund is confident that the trial court got the law right the first time around and will again make the best decision for Tony,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We would like nothing more than for Tony to spend this New Year’s in the comfort of an accredited sanctuary that is far better equipped to meet his basic needs and to give him the kind of life he deserves.”

http://www.aldf.org/article.php?id=1859

Animal rights group takes new tack versus Sandlin   Leave a comment

Photo Used With Permission of & © & M. Haik

Written by: Walter Pierce 
Monday, 15 August 2011

The California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund is seeking to enlist a new partner in its effort to keep up the pressure on Michael Sandlin, owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete: Louisiana State University.

A Baton Rouge judge last May granted a permanent injunction preventing the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries from renewing Sandlin’s license to keep Tony, a 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger, in a 700-square-foot enclosure at his business off Interstate 10. A defiant Sandlin has fought for years to keep Tony caged at his shabby station and, in perhaps a sign that he intends to fight this thing until the very end, recently further capitalized on his proximity to LSU by painting Tony’s den and enclosure purple and gold — the familiar color scheme of Louisiana’s flagship university.

The ALDF recently brought the new paint job to LSU’s attention, hoping to convince the university to take action against Sandlin for trademark violation, according to ALDF Director of Communications Lisa  Franzetta, who says LSU has “ assured us they are investigating the matter.”

In a recent letter to Brian Hommel, LSU’s director of trademark licensing, ALDF staff attorney Matthew Liebman lays out the group’s case:

Not only does the Tiger Truck Stop confine a tiger, the LSU mascot, in conditions many consider inhumane, it has also appropriated the official LSU colors, purple and gold. The truck stop’s large sign and external façade are purple and gold, as are Tony’s transport trailer and a sign hung on Tony’s cage. The truck stop also just painted Tony’s den purple and gold.  The juxtaposition of the LSU colors with a tiger is certainly no coincidence, and it risks associating LSU with a controversial and inhumane exhibit. As you know well, LSU has spent extensive resources to improve its image on tiger welfare, and the Tiger Truck Stop’s infringement on LSU’s color combination and mascot endangers those efforts. Failure to remedy this infringement could be seen as an LSU endorsement of Tony’s captivity.

http://www.theind.com/news/8840-animal-rights-group-takes-new-tack-versus-sandlin

From ALDF: Attorneys Fighting to Free Tony the Truck Stop Tiger Head to Court   Leave a comment

May 4th, 2011

Baton Rouge Court to Consider the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Lawsuit Against the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for Issuing Illegal Permit Allowing Tony to Be Kept on Display in Iberville Parish

For immediate release

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

BATON ROUGE, La. – Tomorrow morning, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and outraged Louisiana residents will square off against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in East Baton Rouge District Court over the legality of a permit that allows Tony, a ten-year old Siberian-Bengal tiger, to be confined as a roadside exhibit at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La. In its lawsuit, filed on April 11, ALDF argues that the Department violated state law in granting the permit to Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin.

When: Thursday, May 5, 9:00am
Where: East Baton Rouge District Courthouse, Judge R. Michael Caldwell’s courtroom, 300 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge

During Thursday’s  hearing, the court will hear ALDF’s argument that Sandlin’s permit to own and display Tony should be invalidated, and that Tony should be released into the custody of ALDF or an accredited animal sanctuary, where he can receive care and treatment and live out his life in a more natural environment, free from the 24-hour exposure to noise and diesel fumes. The court may choose to issue a decision in the case immediately following the hearing.

ALDF’s lawsuit to free Tony has drawn the support of high profile advocates like Leonardo DiCaprio and True Blood’s Kristin Bauer and has galvanized activists around the world. This week, ALDF delivered to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries over 31,000 signed petitions urging it to revoke Sandlin’s permit to keep Tony. Tony has been on exhibit at the Tiger Truck Stop since 2000; he has lived there with no other tiger companions since 2003. Joining ALDF as a co-plaintiff in the case is former Louisiana Representative Warren Triche, who authored the state’s law that led to the ban on the private ownership of big cats, including tigers. Two other Louisiana residents, also deeply concerned by Tony’s long-time suffering, are additional co-plaintiffs. The law offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. are providing pro bono assistance with the lawsuit.

“Louisiana has explicit regulations designed to protect tigers like Tony, and the Department has disregarded state law and misused taxpayer money in arbitrarily granting the permit that allows Michael Sandlin to keep Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We are heading to court to ensure that Tony is no longer subjected to diesel fumes, harassment, and the unimaginable suffering of life in his lonely cage.”

Copies of the lawsuit and photographs of Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop are available upon request. An attorney for ALDF will be attending the hearing and available for interviews. Reporters attending the hearing should arrive in advance, as it is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. sharp. 

http://aldf.org/article.php?id=1699

From ALDF: True Blood’s Kristin Bauer Talks Tony the Tiger in Exclusive Interview with ALDF   Leave a comment

Posted by Lisa Franzetta, ALDF’s Director of Communications on May 4th, 2011

Kristin Bauer, the actress who portrays the lovely-but-lethal vampire Pam on HBO’s award-winning True Blood, recently teamed with the Animal Legal Defense Fund in the fight to free Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger who has been living in isolation as a “tourist attraction” at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana for the past decade. In her video message, she describes what makes Tony’s current life so miserable and urges people to take action.

“In the wild, Tony might roam a territory of one hundred square miles. But for the last decade, he has instead lived in his concrete enclosure, exposed to the noise of diesel engines and the stench of gasoline… Join me and the Animal Legal Defense Fund in urging the state of Louisiana to revoke the permit that allows Tony to be kept at the Tiger Truck Stop.”

We had a chance to talk one-on-one with Kristin about Tony and her concerns about his captivity. Check out this video of ALDF’s never-before-seen exclusive interview:

ALDF is going to court for Tony tomorrow! Join the over 28,000 people who have already signed our petition to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, urging them to revoke the permit that allows Tony to be displayed as a roadside spectacle at the Tiger Truck Stop. Sign the petition and donate today!

http://aldf.org/article.php?id=1697

From The ALDF: Leonardo Speaks Out For Tony: “We Need to Act Now”   1 comment

The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s post regarding Leonardo DiCaprio’s posts for Tony. Please visit the following link and post your comments: http://www.aldf.org/article.php?id=1695

Leonardo Speaks Out For Tony: “We Need to Act Now”

Posted by Lisa Franzetta, ALDF’s Director of Communications on April 29th, 2011

Award-winning actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio is the latest high-profile supporter to join the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s campaign to free Tony the tiger, who has spent the last decade at Louisiana’s Tiger Truck Stop.

Yesterday, Leo wrote to his 1.5 million Facebook supporters:

Have you heard about Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger living at a truck stop in Louisiana? This tiger has been living in a small inadequate and inhumane enclosure alone since 2003. We need to help the Animal Legal Defense Fund in urging the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the permit that allows this. http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5154/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6207

The star of Titanic, The Aviator, and Inception also reached out to his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, tweeting

Leonardo DiCaprio Tweets for Tony

On May 5, ALDF will square off against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in East Baton Rouge District Court over the legality of a permit that allows Tony, a ten-year old Siberian-Bengal tiger, to be confined as a roadside exhibit at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La. ALDF is arguing that the Department violated state law in granting the permit to Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin. Sign the petition to help free Tony today! And stay tuned all next week for updates on Tony’s case!

http://www.aldf.org/article.php?id=1695

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