Archive for the ‘Louisiana Court of Appeal’ Tag

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/

Tony ~ 14 Years At Tiger Truck Stop   Leave a comment

july 4 tonyJuly 4th is a day when we celebrate our nation’s independence ~ in essence our freedom ~ in contrast it’s a fitting day (albeit disheartening) to also mark Tony’s 14 years at the truck stop – exploited as a roadside attraction.

sign comparisonAccording to the sign posted on Tony’s cage, he was born in July 2000 – this month marking his 14th year. It is reported that Tony was acquired by Michael Sandlin as a 6 month old cub from a Texas breeder.

Tony’s saga has been a roller-coaster series of events including:

ALDF’s court victories:

  • Judge Caldwell granting a permanent injunction blocking LDWF from issuing a new permit to him, and ordering the current permit revoked

  • The Louisiana Court of Appeal upholding the lower court’s rulings

  • The Louisiana Supreme Court denying a petition to review the Louisiana Court of Appeal’s ruling

And the shameful SB 250:

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. For complete information visit: 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/

SB 250 supporters can argue interminably, but there is no justification whatsoever – legally, ethically or humanely – to make the case for Tony to be kept at the truck stop. Tony has been exploited for 14 years; tigers are not gimmicks, attractions, props or pets. They are magnificent, dangerous big cats who deserve our respect and protection. Tony deserves the opportunity to retire to a peaceful, healthy, natural environment. No animal should be exploited as a roadside attraction at a truck stop.

 

We support ALDF’s continued efforts to secure Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary, three of which have standing offers of a home for him:

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/

We ask Tony’s friends to remain supportive and positive for Tony and continue to network for him:

  • Tony’s change.org petition asking the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to enforce the law remains open:

http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

Petitions are a good medium to keep people supportive, involved as well as demonstrate the interest and support Tony has worldwide.

Note: LDWF refused to enforce state law though they had the authority to seize Tony.
LDWF’s position statement on privately ownership of tigers:

“It is the Department’s position that private possession of tigers poses a significant hazard to public safety and is detrimental to the health of the animal. Prolonged confinement is by its nature stressful to tigers and proper long-term care by experienced persons is essential to the health of the animal.”

Join ~ Follow ~ Share these social networking sites for Tony

  • Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/FreeTonyTheTiger

  • Twitter:

@FreeTonyTiger http://twitter.com/#!/FreeTonyTiger

@TonyTiger2000: http://twitter.com/#!/TonyTiger2000

  • Instagram:

http://instagram.com/tonythetruckstoptiger/#

  • Pinterest:

http://pinterest.com/tonytiger2000/

  • Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/user/FreeTonyTheTiger

  • WordPress:

https://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/

  • If you visit Tony, document your visit with pictures and/or video and please share them. Send us a link via Twitter, on Tony’s Facebook page or email: roar4tony@yahoo.com
If you visit Tony please share your pictures with us. Email roar4tony@yahoo.com. Thanks V. Perkins for these pictures taken June 2014.

If you visit Tony please share your pictures with us. Email roar4tony@yahoo.com. Thanks V. Perkins for these pictures taken June 2014.

Thanks to ALL of Tony’s friends – your support and dedication to this beautiful tiger is greatly appreciated and so very important in working towards the home and life Tony deserves

Special Thanks to Animal Legal Defense Fund for their extraordinary representation of Tony and dedication to him. Please visit their site to learn more about them and their tremendous work to help animals through the legal system and support their Animal Bill of Rights http://animalbillofrights.aldf.org/

We close with two videos: the first from ALDF when they visited Tony at the truck stop, and the second from Big Cat Rescue in Tampa FL of one of their residents TJ the tiger enjoying his “vacation” in their newly built 2.5 acre habitat “Vacation Rotation.” Our vision is to see Tony run, play, swim and experience the magnificent big cat he is at one of the sanctuaries aforementioned in this post and to “Be a Tiger” like TJ in this video. Those who deny Tony this opportunity truly lack compassion and respect for him but we are not deterred by their corrupt actions and ignorance.

We remain steadfast in our efforts to see Tony have the home, care and life he deserves.

 

Louisiana House Passes Bill to Keep Tony the Tiger Captive via @ALDF   Leave a comment

Posted on May 30, 2014

For immediate release:

Contact:
Megan Backus, ALDF

tony-the-tiger-copyright-JS-2014

On May 30, 2014 the Louisiana House passed SB 250, a bill that subverts the intent of a 2006 state law prohibiting the importation and possession of big exotic cats. That dangerous wild animal ban was introduced by Rep. Warren Triche specifically with Tony the tiger’s deplorable captivity in mind, and passed unanimously in the Louisiana legislature. However, this new bill, SB 250, carves out a retroactive exemption to place Michael Sandlin above the law that applies to all other Louisiana citizens, and thus imposes a life sentence of caged solitary confinement upon Tony. It further could open the door to Louisiana becoming a safe haven for unscrupulous owners to bring exotic animals from other states.

SB 250 also directly overturns a judicial decision made by the Louisiana Court of Appeal in ALDF’s victorious lawsuit. We have worked long and hard to free Tony the Tiger from life at a truck stop and send him to a reputable sanctuary. The Wild Animal Sanctuary was willing to provide this care and sanctuary for Tony, so that Tony might live out his remaining years in sanctuary rather than a gas station parking lot. The Wild Animal Sanctuary’s executive director Pat Craig, along with ALDF’s Carter Dillard and Chris Green, testified before the legislature and provided expert advice and recommendations in the best interest of Tony.

The bill has not been signed by Governor Bobby Jindal, and ALDF’s next step is to urge Governor Jindal to veto this bill and decline to set such a perilous precedent. Allowing an individual to override court decisions and violate local and state laws in order to retain possession of a dangerous wild animal invites other would-be big exotic cat owners to come forward requesting their own exemptions to state and local laws. Not only would this be a further waste of taxpayer money and a subversion of the legal system, but it would mean more animals suffering the way that Tony continues to suffer every day.

http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/louisiana-house-passes-bill-to-keep-tony-the-tiger-captive/

Legally Brief: @ALDF’s Case to Free Tony the Tiger   Leave a comment

Re-posting from ALDF

Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF Executive Director on May 22, 2014

Legally Brief

Our campaign to free Tony the Tiger continues. What would it mean to “free” a 14 year-old Siberian-Bengal Tiger named Tony who has spent all his life in a small cage at a Louisiana truck stop? Freeing Tony would mean sending him to a reputable sanctuary, where he can finally have some peace in his lifetime and live like a tiger—rather than as a truck stop gimmick in a concrete prison pacing back and forth continuously, surrounded by noise and diesel truck exhaust. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has spent years in court fighting for Tony’s freedom. And we won—our victory was upheld by the Louisiana Court of Appeal, and the Louisiana State Supreme Court refused to revisit that decision. But Tony’s owner, having lost repeatedly in court, while continuing to display Tony illegally, has tried to sneak a bill, “SB 250,” through the Louisiana legislature that would allow him to skirt the law.

That’s why the Animal Legal Defense Fund works to protect animals by covering all the bases within the legal system. We work with legislatures to ensure laws reflect what’s best for animals. We work with law enforcement to ensure that these laws are actually enforced. And—in addition to our highly successful animal law education initiatives, with hundreds of student ALDF chapters in the top law schools in the land—when individuals violate the law, like Tony’s owner, we file suit and take them to court.

The Louisiana legislature is now considering “SB 250,” which, if passed, could essentially undo every victory ALDF has achieved for Tony and relegate him to a life living in a truck stop parking lot. The bill aims to “exempt certain persons from the requirements of the big exotic cats rules.” Exempting “certain persons” (meaning Tony’s owner) would not only remove Tony’s legal protections, but it would allow an individual like Tony’s owner to undermine the judicial process. Aside from keeping Tony imprisoned, passing such a bill would send the dangerous message that if you don’t like a law, you can just hire some lobbyists to try to rewrite it—in this case Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of tigers and other exotic cats. As that law’s sponsor, representative Warren Triche, notes, it was written specifically to prevent tragic situations like Tony’s. For this tiger, and for all animals, we must make it clear that playing fast and loose with the law is unacceptable, no matter how deep your pockets or how tight your political connections.

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This frustrating saga shows how hard it is for animal advocates to protect animals. But long as we work together to unite all aspects of the legal system, from criminal justice to innovative litigation and legislative affairs, we will win the case against animal cruelty. It’s important that everyone stands up for animals and does their part.

Here at the Animal Legal Defense Fund, we have a strong connection to Tony’s plight, and our hearts break at the possibility that he may never get his freedom. And if this kind of sneaky, back-door affront to our legal system is allowed to continue, many other tigers may face the same fate.

Tony urgently needs your help—please take action for Tony today, and read more about his story here.

Take Action Button

http://aldf.org/blog/legally-brief-aldfs-case-to-free-tony-the-tiger/

 

Warren Triche Speaks Out Against SB 250   Leave a comment

triche

Note: As a Louisiana State Representative in 2006, Warren Triche, Jr. sponsored the bill limiting or restricting the private ownership of big cats.

Please continue to take action against SB 250 which is still listed as “Subject To Call.” You can track the bill here: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/BillInfo.aspx?i=224278

It is especially important for Louisiana Residents to demonstrate their opposition to this bill. An easy contact form from ASPCA can be found at: http://www.capwiz.com/aspca/issues/alert/?alertid=63198706&type=ST&&from=advocacycenterlanding Please follow-up with a phone call to your Senator. More information provided at the aforementioned link.

Actions for Louisiana Non-Residents: https://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/update-on-sb-250-keep-the-pressure-on/

Please also leave your comments against SB 250 at the direct link to this article: http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/opinion/9129026-171/letter-bill-would-reverse-protection

Let’s continue to stand strong against this egregious bill specifically targeted to KEEP Tony at the truck stop.

Letter: Bill would reverse protection

As I understand the present-day scenario for Tony the Tiger’s situation, I would like to present the following for the general public’s information.

In 2006, as a Louisiana state representative, I sponsored the bill limiting or restricting the private ownership of large cats, which passed overwhelmingly in both houses of the Legislature. One of the animals we were specifically concerned about was a Siberian-Bengal tiger named Tony.

Tony now stands to lose his hard-won legal protections because of a bill about to cross our state Senate floor. The tiger already has spent too many years pacing away at a local truck stop as a business gimmick for Tony’s keeper — do you think this is what Louisiana voters want? Tony deserves to be protected by the law, and Louisianans are calling on public servants within the state Legislature to defend existing protections for tigers.

This bill, Senate Bill 250, was rushed through a Senate committee last month with very little, if any, notice to those who would have appeared at the hearing to oppose the measure. With it, it seems there is an attempt now being made to circumvent a decision that has already been decided by the three-tiered court system, including the Appeals and the Supreme Court. Apparently, this is a back-door approach through the legislative process to undo what the courts have decided, by making a grandfather-type clause for Tony’s continued captivity.

Beginning in 2000, Tony has been displayed at the truck stop and subjected to harmful fumes and excessive noise in a concrete-floored cage for more than a decade. That’s why — along with Louisiana taxpayers and the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund — many, many concerned citizens and groups have been involved in a yearslong battle to ensure that Tony’s best interests are protected by law. In 2011, we successfully sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for unlawfully issuing Tony’s keeper(s) a permit to continue exhibiting Tony. In April 2013, the Court of Appeal ruled that Tony’s owner was ineligible for a permit to continue Tony’s captivity. This victory was allowed to stand by the Louisiana Supreme Court in October.

We hope our fellow lawmakers will do their just service to our state — and to Tony — and uphold the laws of the land. Tigers of Tony’s age are retired to sanctuaries all the time, and moving him should pose little risk, if done properly. Let us allow Tony to live out his remaining years in the quiet, clean air and soft grasses of a reputable sanctuary, as he deserves.

Warren Triche Jr.

Former State Representative

http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/opinion/9129026-171/letter-bill-would-reverse-protection

Tony the Tiger May Never Escape His Truck Stop Captivity. Here’s How You Can Help! via @OneGreenPlanet   Leave a comment

By:

Ever since his birth in July of 2000, Tony, a Bengal-Siberian mix tiger, has spent every day and night confined to a small, barren enclosure at a truck stop in Grosse Tete, La. Here, he has been subjected to a continuous onslaught of car exhaust and loud noises for over a decade, rarely receiving the proper care or enrichment he so desperately needs.

New Legislation May Prevent Tony the Tiger from Escaping His 14-Year Truck Stop Captivity Free Tony the Tiger / Facebook

Despite these clearly inappropriate conditions, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has refused to uphold a 2006 state law (Act 715) that prohibits the sale and ownership of big exotic cats and even allowed any owner who kept big cats prior to August 15, 2006 to continue doing so as long as they file for an annual permit with the department.

Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, was one of the big cat owners “grandfathered” in under the law. However, upon seeing Tony’s continued plight, concerned citizens and nonprofits Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and Big Cat Rescue have fought tirelessly over the years to free Tony from his life of misery.

New Legislation May Prevent Tony the Tiger from Escaping His 14-Year Truck Stop Captivity Free Tony the Tiger / Facebook

Two major victories were won for Tony in 2013 when the Louisiana Court of Appeal “held that Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Shop were ineligible for a big cat permit and could no longer keep Tony” and when the Louisiana Supreme Court later “rejected Sandlin’s petition and let [the Court of Appeal] decision stand,” the ALDF reports.

Unfortunately, the Louisiana legislature (or at least a selection of its members) does not seem to care much for Tony’s plight and that of other big cats kept as captive pets (when it’s so clear that big cats should never be pets).

New Legislation May Prevent Tony the Tiger from Escaping His 14-Year Truck Stop Captivity Free Tony the Tiger / Facebook

Recently, the Louisiana Senate Committee on Natural Resources quickly passed Senate Bill 250, which undermines the 2006 state law 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,” the ALDF states.

We cannot let another round-about policy keep Tony confined any longer. It’s time he was freed from his miserable life at the Tiger Truck Stop and provided with a proper home at a real wildlife sanctuary that would attend to his every need, instead of using him to turn a profit like Sandlin has for years. Do your part to help Tony by taking action using the steps below — we must be his voice!

Take Action

Image Source: Free Tony the Tiger / Facebook

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/new-legislation-may-prevent-tony-the-tiger-from-escaping-truck-stop-captivity/

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/

From ALDF: Victory in ALDF’s Tony the Tiger Case!   Leave a comment

 Photo credit:  Animal Legal Defense Fund


Photo credit:
Animal Legal Defense Fund

Re-posting from ALDF:

Posted by Matthew Liebman, ALDF Staff Attorney on April 26th, 2013

Yesterday, April 25th, 2013,  the Louisiana Court of Appeal issued its long-awaited opinion in Animal Legal Defense Fund v. State of Louisiana, holding that Michael Sandlin is ineligible for a permit to confine Tony the Tiger in a cage at the Tiger Truck Stop.

Although the court held that ALDF lacked standing to be a plaintiff in the case, it nevertheless confirmed that our clients—Louisiana residents and taxpayers—do have standing to challenge illegal actions by the government, in this case the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

In ruling on the merits, the court agreed with ALDF’s argument that Michael Sandlin cannot receive a grandfather permit to continue to keep Tony because Sandlin does not meet the legal requirements for such a permit. As the court put it:

The record establishes that on August 15, 2006, Tony was not owned by Michael Sandlin; rather, he was owned by Tiger Truck Stop. Additionally, on August 15, 2006, the ownership and possession of Tony by Tiger Truck Stop and the possession by Michael Sandlin in Iberville Parish was in violation of a local ordinance, and thus, illegal. Although that local ordinance was amended in 2009 retroactive to August 15, 2006, the amendment to the ordinance did not change the fact that on August 15, 2006, neither Tiger Truck Stop nor Michael Sandlin legally possessed or legally owned Tony. Only an individual who legally possessed an exotic cat (such as a tiger) and who could prove legal ownership of that exotic cat is entitled to a permit for that cat. Accordingly, that part of the judgment of the trial court granting a final/permanent injunction against DWF, enjoining it from issuing any new permits to Michael Sandlin and/or Tiger Truck Stop for the tiger (“Tony” microchip #477E201A4C) now located at Tiger Truck Stop in Iberville Parish is affirmed.

The decision marks a significant step towards Tony’s freedom, as the second-highest court in Louisiana has confirmed that the Department erred when it issued Sandlin a permit. Sandlin’s lawyer has said she intends to seek rehearing of the Court of Appeal’s decision, as well as review by the Louisiana Supreme Court. Sandlin also has his own lawsuit to invalidate the state’s big cat ban. But rest assured ALDF will fight every step of the way to make sure Tony ends up in a reputable sanctuary. We still have a long road ahead, but we’ve cleared a major hurdle and have earned this moment of celebration.

http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2438

One Step Closer To Freedom…   Leave a comment

aldf tony 4.25.2013

Update From The Animal Legal Defense Fund:

April 25, 2013: On April 25, 2013 the Louisiana Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling in ALDF’s case against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for unlawfully issuing Michael Sandlin a permit to keep and exhibit Tony. The Court of Appeals agreed with Judge Caldwell, holding that Sandlin is ineligible for a permit to keep Tony. With pro bono assistance from Baker Donelson, ALDF will continue to fight on behalf of Tony and the individual plaintiffs involved.

  • Follow Tony On Twitter:

http://twitter.com/#!/FreeTonyTiger
http://twitter.com/#!/TonyTiger2000

From ALDF: Tony, the Truck Stop Tiger 11.29.2012   Leave a comment

tony 01The Truck Stops Here…

From the stench of fuel to the drone of diesel engines and the isolation of his roadside prison, Tony, a 12 year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, has endured more than a decade of misery at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. That is why the Animal Legal Defense Fund has taken to the Louisiana courts to free Tony the Tiger from this truck stop nightmare. We won our lawsuit to prevent Tony’s “owner” Michael Sandlin from renewing his permit, but Sandlin appealed, and we are waiting for the Louisiana Court of Appeal to hear the case. Sandlin subsequently filed his own lawsuit to overturn the state’s ban on big cat ownership. ALDF sought to have the case dismissed and is waiting for the trial court to decide if the suit will move forward.

Sandlin has exploited tigers for over 20 years: buying, breeding, selling, and exhibiting tigers in poor conditions for his own profit. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Sandlin’s truck stop in the past for unsanitary feeding practices; mishandling tigers; and failure to provide veterinary care, shelter from inclement weather, clean drinking water, and knowledgeable employees to care for the tigers. In 2003, Sandlin’s animal welfare violations sparked public outcry, and three tigers were removed to a Tennessee sanctuary. The USDA allowed Sandlin to keep one tiger: Tony. He has been alone ever since.tony 02

Life at the truck stop is harmful to an animal with such sensitive hearing and acute sense of smell, says veterinarian Jennifer Conrad, who has cared for captive large cats for nearly two decades. After visiting Tony, she declared he is “in poor condition and needs intervention on his behalf.” In addition to exposure to noise and diesel fumes, Tony is taunted by truck stop visitors. His enclosure lacks adequate enrichment. He has no pool of water to cool off in the blazing heat of the summer. As a result of this stressful confinement, Tony constantly paces in his enclosure, putting him at risk for dangerous and painful veterinary conditions.

His suffering demonstrates the problem of privately-owned tigers, whose numbers exceed that of wild tigers. There are less than 500 Siberian and only 2,500 Bengal tigers left in the wild. In their natural habitat, tigers live alone, travel many miles to hunt, and avoid humans.

ALDF Sues to Have Tony Freed

In 2010, ALDF sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for unlawfully issuing Sandlin a permit to keep and exhibit Tony. ALDF was joined by several Louisiana residents as co-plaintiffs, including Warren Triche, the state representative who authored the Louisiana state law banning private ownership of tigers. In November 2011, Judge Michael Caldwell ordered LDWF to revoke Sandlin’s permit and prohibited the agency from issuing future permits. Sandlin appealed this decision to the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the First Circuit. We have briefed the case and are awaiting an oral argument date. Once the court hears our arguments, we will await a final decision. Meanwhile, Sandlin continues to exhibit Tony without a permit.

LDWF publicly stated it intends to enforce Louisiana law when litigation has concluded—although they could seize Tony now, at their discretion. State law bars Sandlin from owning and exhibiting a tiger because he did not legally own Tony when Louisiana’s big cat ban went into effect, and because Sandlin does not live on the premises where Tony is held captive. After all, who would want to live in a truck stop? Not Sandlin… and definitely not Tony.

ALDF Intervenes to Defend Big Cat Law

After losing his permit, Sandlin filed his own lawsuit against the State of Louisiana, the LDWF, and Iberville Parish to overturn the state ban on private possession of big cats. This suit flies in the face of national sentiment, public safety, and animal welfare concerns. After the massacre of 48 exotic animals in Ohio in 2011, state and federal bills (like HR 4122) are being considered to prohibit ownership of big cats. Although ALDF was not named as a defendant in Sandlin’s suit, we successfully petitioned the court to allow us to intervene in the case to support Louisiana’s right to safeguard public safety and the welfare of animals like Tony. LDWF and ALDF each filed exceptions to Sandlin’s case, seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed, and a decision is expected soon.

Next Steps: We Wait While Tony Paces

The world waits with bated breath for the results of ALDF’s suit and of Sandlin’s appeal. Meanwhile Tony remains trapped at the truck stop. ALDF’s legal battle for Tony has drawn support from high profile advocates like Leonardo DiCaprio and True Blood’s Kristin Bauer van Straten and has galvanized activists around the world. The law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. is providing pro bono assistance.

We are currently waiting for the Louisiana Court of Appeal to hear our case. We are also waiting for the trial court to decide if Sandlin’s suit will move forward. Tony’s fate is tied up in the courts, but ALDF is keeping the pressure on.

We will post updates on Tony’s case as they become available.

NOTE: Article courtesy of  Animal Legal Defense Fund. You can leave a comment of thanks to ALDF and support for Tony at the end of this article here: http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2233 on ALDF’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AnimalLegalDefenseFund and retweet on Twitter: https://twitter.com/aldf/status/274297585769013248

Let’s continue our positive dedicated advocacy on behalf of Tony. Thank you.

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