Archive for the ‘Louisiana Supreme Court’ 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.

tony-copyright-FTT-article-image-500px

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/

Breakdown on SB 250 Vote ~ May 13, 2014   Leave a comment

Senate votes to keep Tony the Tiger at truck stop

Posted by on Tue, May 13, 2014 at 4:10 PM

After failing to pass Senate Bill 250 through the Louisiana Senate in April, State Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, reintroduced his bill to exempt big cat owners from a state law banning exotic pet ownership. This afternoon, SB 250 narrowly passed by a vote of 20-18. It now heads to the House.

State Sens. Troy Brown and Mack White were absent to vote last month. They voted in favor this afternoon. Sens. Danny Martiny, Gary Smith and Robert Kostelka, who voted against the bill in April, also voted in favor.

Sens. Dan Claitor, Yvonne Dorsey-Lacomb and Dan Morrish voted for the measure last month but voted against it today. Sen. Ben Nevers, who voted against the bill last month, was absent today.

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 law would come up against the Louisiana Supreme Court’s rejection of 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.

breakdown sb250 5.13.2014

http://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2014/05/13/senate-votes-to-keep-tony-the-tiger-at-truck-stop

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

Senate stalls tiger bill via @theadvocatebr   Leave a comment

Marsha Shuler
mshuler@theadvocate
April 29, 2014

The Louisiana Senate refused Monday to step into a legal battle over whether Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete can continue to keep a 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger.

Truck stop owner Michael Sandlin already has lost one court fight, which went to the state Supreme Court.

Another lawsuit is active.

State Sen. Rick Ward III, R-Port Allen, asked the Senate to approve legislation that would allow Sandlin to keep the tiger through an exception in state law governing ownership of big exotic cats.

The Senate voted 18-19 for the measure — two votes short of the majority needed for passage of Senate Bill 250.

The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has the authority under state law to control and regulate the possession of big exotic cats.

Exceptions are provided for those held by colleges and universities, animal sanctuaries, zoos, wildlife rescue centers, scientific organizations and “owners who can prove previous ownership.”

Ward said the legislation sought to “clarify” the definition of previous owner to include anyone who obtained their animal legally and has been in continuous possession and ownership since Aug. 15, 2006. The exception would apply retroactively and fit Sandlin’s Tiger Truck Stop situation.

“Many of you drive up and down I-10,” Ward said. “It’s a very nice facility …. He (the tiger) enjoys his area. In fact, he even has an air conditioned home.”

But state Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, said the truck stop is not a place for a Siberian-Bengal tiger. He said it is not accredited by the agency that has given the seal of approval to LSU’s Mike the Tiger digs and others accommodating the large cats.

“We are talking about a truck stop along a highway that family and kids enjoy,” Morrell said. “No one at this truck stop is prepared to deal with any dangerous situation whatsoever if and when this tiger gets out and injures someone.”

Ward said truck stop owner Sandlin has had tigers since 1984. “There’s never been a safety incident. I don’t think there’s going to even be a safety issue,” Ward said. “He’s followed all the guidelines necessary and will continue to do so.”

Four Louisiana residents filed suit wanting the tiger, Tony, moved to a secure accredited wildlife sanctuary. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a district court decision that found that state law banned the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries from renewing Sandlin’s permit to house the tiger. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Sandlin has a civil lawsuit pending on another issue dealing with permitting.

http://theadvocate.com/home/9029677-125/tony-the-tiger-bill-stalls

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

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/

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/

Tiger tale back in lege via @The_Gambit   Leave a comment

The following posted at: http://www.bestofneworleans.com/gambit/tiger-tale-back-in-lege/Content?oid=2423211

Bill aims to keep ‘Tony’ at Tiger Truck Stop

  State Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, has introduced Senate Bill 250 to exempt certain big-cat owners from a state law banning exotic pet ownership. In essence, the law would only apply to Michael Sandlin, the owner of Tony, a 13-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger that has been kept at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete outside Baton Rouge 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.

If made law, Ward’s bill would grandfather permits for “persons who obtained their animal by lawful means and continuously possessed their animal since August 15, 2006.” There is an ongoing lawsuit and debate, however, over whether Sandlin has complied with state and municipal laws of exotic pet ownership.

The Louisiana Supreme Court rejected Sandlin’s petition last October 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 (LDWF) for unlawfully issuing a permit to Sandlin to keep Tony.

In April 2013, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal held that Sandlin can’t keep Tony, nor can he keep a permit issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

A Change.org petition requesting Ward to pull the bill has gathered more than 3,700 signatures as of press time.

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/

*************************************************************************************

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

%d bloggers like this: