Archive for the ‘louisiana senate’ Tag

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.

 

James Gill: Bill just a favor to local business via @theadvocateno   Leave a comment

Click on picture to go to video.

Click on picture to go to video.

Advocate story
June 05, 2014

Opinions in the legislature were divided over whether a 550-pound Bengal tiger can find happiness living alone in a cage outside a truck stop in Grosse Tete.

No wonder Louisiana is in a pickle. A question that could not be regarded as worth debating in rational circles ate up hour after hour as the session neared its end. If legislators really wanted to know what Tony the Tiger thinks of his current accommodations, they needed only to imagine how they would like living in a cage, or in Grosse Tete or outside a truck stop, let alone all three.

Perhaps you think it a colossal waste of time even to consider a bill exempting truck stop owner Michael Sandlin from a law that bans the “private possession of big exotic cats.” If so, you are not cut out to be a legislator. The bill, after passing the Senate and stirring lengthy and heated exchanges in committee, took up an hour on the House floor, where the state’s $25 billion budget had just zipped through in less than five minutes. Members were reserving their mental powers for the Tony issue.

Naturally, they got it wrong. Any bill intended solely as a favor to an individual business is a perversion of the legislative process, but this one was on its way to Gov. Bobby Jindal after legislators accepted the absurd proposition that it would be an unkindness to release Tony to a huge and remote sanctuary.

Proponents of the bill claimed that animal rights extremists from California were behind the push to wrest Tony away from his tender-hearted owner. If Tony goes, they warned, LSU’s mascot, Mike the Tiger, will be next. It will be only a matter of time, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, warned in committee, before they come after our hunting dogs. Overheated imaginations are common in the Capitol.

Animal League Defense Fund representatives were there in opposition to the bill in committee, making it easier for the good ole boys to call for a united front against meddlesome outsiders. They’ve got some nerve coming down here and asking us to obey our own laws.

The law against private possession of big cats passed the House and Senate unanimously in 2006, and state courts have ordered Tony relocated. Sandlin bought time by filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ban, but evidently decided he had a better chance of success in the long run by pre-empting the justice system and getting his friends in Baton Rouge to carve out an exemption.

LSU has had one for Mike since the law was passed. Zoos and wildlife centers were also included on a list of exemptions, to which Ward’s bill added “persons who continuously possessed their animal” since 2006. Thus, though this bill was strictly for Sandlin’s benefit, all long-time owners of lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards and cheetahs are now welcome in Louisiana. If a big cat ever escapes, let us hope it takes refuge in the Capitol grounds.

Sandlin’s family has owned gas stations here and in Texas for many years, exhibiting a succession of tigers to pack the crowds in. It has evidently worked, for Sandlin, by his own account, can afford to spend huge sums on creature comforts and veterinary care. He sees himself as contributing to the preservation of endangered species. He and supporters argue transferring Tony to a sanctuary would be traumatic or even fatal.

At the committee hearing, the Animal Legal Defense Fund wheeled out Pat Craig, director of the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, which, one committee member noted, looked from a photograph like the Serengeti Plain. Tigers may have no ancestral affinity for the African landscape either, but we may take it for granted that roaming the sanctuary’s wide expanses would suit a tiger better than breathing in diesel fumes by the I-10 exit ramp. Craig said no cat had ever suffered ill effects from being transported to his place, and Tony would be welcome.

Sandlin, though he says he is devoted to Tony’s welfare, has been frequently cited by the United States Department of Agriculture for neglecting it. Since nobody is at the truck stop overnight, Tony’s current situation also presents an obvious risk to public safety.

If legislators want to do Sandlin a favor, they should just say so and not claim a tiger is better off in a cage. That can only leave us with the uneasy suspicion that they are dumb enough to believe it.

http://theadvocate.com/columnists/9354782-55/james-gill-bill-just-a

Louisiana Senate PASSES SB 250 ~ TAKE ACTION NOW via @ALDF!   Leave a comment

May 13, 2014: The Louisiana Senate PASSED SB 250 by a vote of 20 YEAS to 18 NAYS. The bill is now “Pending House Referral” Track the bill here: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/BillInfo.aspx?i=224278

TONY NEEDS LOUISIANA RESIDENTS to TAKE ACTION NOW by contacting their Louisiana House District Representative and asking them to OPPOSE SB 250.

Easy contact form: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5154/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=17493

You can find out who your Representative is by inputting your address here: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5154/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=15813 Please follow up with a phone call. Louisiana Residents can simply say, “Hello. I am one of your constituents and I’m concerned about the welfare of captive tigers in our state. I would like you to vote AGAINST SB 250.”

Read more from Animal Legal Defense Fund:

Protect Tigers from Unlawful Captivity

We just got word from the Louisiana State Senate floor that a very dangerous bill is now one vote closer to becoming law. If it passes, SB 250 would create a “retroactive exemption” to Louisiana’s ban on possessing dangerous wild animals. Specifically, it would allow Tony the Tiger to remain caged as a truck-stop curiosity where he is subjected to noise and diesel fumes 24-hours a day.

ALDF is on the ground in Louisiana fighting this bill, and we visited Tony the Tiger at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete in May of 2014. Here is the video we recorded:

 

As Louisiana supporters already know, this bill was designed to appease Michael Sandlin, whose captivity of Tony the Tiger was declared illegal by the Louisiana Court of Appeals in ALDF’s successful lawsuit. Sandlin has been repeatedly sanctioned by the USDA for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act and had all of his other truck-stop tigers removed.

Louisiana law rightfully bans private ownership of tigers and other dangerous wild animals. There are a few exemptions, but the law itself is clear. ALDF opposes the possession of big cats because it is inhumane to the animals kept captive, and dangerous to people. Exemptions to the ban on dangerous wild animals waste the state’s resources and put animals in harm’s way simply to accommodate those who want to confine tigers, bears and other animals for entertainment or profit.

Take Action!

This outrageous “exemption” bill will soon be considered by the Louisiana House of Representatives. We need to pull out all of the stops—so are asking all Louisiana residents to contact Louisiana House Members right now to tell them that you strongly oppose any exemptions to animal protection laws.

tony-the-tiger-copyright-JS-2014

House Members need to hear from Louisiana residents only. Please send them a message, urging Louisiana Representatives to vote against SB 250. Join our fight against attempts to subvert animal protection laws in Louisiana. Residents can simply say, “Hello. I am one of your constituents and I’m concerned about the welfare of captive tigers in our state. I would like you to vote against SB 250.”

Take Action Button

For those who are out of state, please join us in sharing this news on social media, so that we can reach more Louisiana residents!

http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/action-alerts/protect-tigers-from-unlawful-captivity/

Bill to keep Tony the Tiger at truck stop fails in Senate via @The_Gambit   Leave a comment

Posted by on Mon, Apr 28, 2014 at 5:55 PM

The Louisiana Senate failed to pass Senate Bill 250 from State Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, which aimed to exempt certain big-cat owners from a state law banning exotic pet ownership. The law would apply to Michael Sandlin, who owns the 13-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger named Tony, who has lived at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete for more than a decade.

The bill passed the Senate’s Committee on Natural Resources April 15. The committee amended the bill to remove an exemption for people who hold a USDA Class C exhibitor’s license, a license which Sandlin possesses. Today, the Senate voted 18-19 against the measure. Ward’s bill attempted to undercut a 2006 state law banning private ownership of exotic pets by exempting those permit holders.

Attempts to remove Tony from the truck stop have been ongoing for years. More recently, the Louisiana Supreme Court rejected Sandlin’s petition in October 2013 to review the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling that Tony can’t live at the truck stop. In 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for unlawfully issuing a permit to Sandlin to keep Tony, and in April 2013, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal held that Sandlin can’t keep Tony, nor can he keep that permit.

http://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2014/04/28/bill-to-keep-tony-the-tiger-at-truck-stop-fails-in-senate

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