Archive for the ‘michael sandlin’ Tag
Repost from Elite Daily by Amanda Holley
Comments supporting tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary are appreciated at the article’s direct link: http://elitedaily.com/life/truck-stop-tiger-animal-welfare/1502326/
Recently, I have had the great pleasure of road tripping from Massachusetts down to Texas. This is truly a wonderful experience because you get to see many of the beautiful sites this country has to offer. We drove through the beautiful, open landscape of Virginia, were dwarfed by the skyscrapers of New York City, mystified by the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and then abruptly disgusted by a tiger being kept in a cage at a truck stop in the Louisiana bayou.
Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Just in case you didn’t process it (because I still really can’t), there is a TIGER being kept in a CAGE at a TRUCK STOP in Louisiana. There are only about 2,500 left in the wild, but don’t worry. There is one at a freaking truck stop in the boondocks.
Part of me wanted to turn around just to go spit in the faces of the people who think it’s OK to keep a tiger in a cage at a truck stop, but part of me thought they might be the kind of people who liked that. So, instead, I researched and decided to give Tony a voice instead.
Tony The Truck Stop Tiger is a Siberian-Bengal Tiger that has lived at the Tiger Truck Stops in Grosse Tete, Louisiana for more than a decade. He lives in isolation, constantly breathing in exhaust fumes. Aside from breathing in hazardous air, his cage is not enriched and not large enough to support the type of lifestyle tigers typically live. In the wild, tigers are solitary animals that travel hundreds of miles a day. They have very acute hearing, so the constant sounds of large truck engines and the taunting of truck stop visitors is very disruptive to Tony.
The lack of space to exercise, on top of the toxic fumes and constant noises, have left Tony in very poor condition. Vets report that he paces around the cage, which is a behavior tigers partake in when they are stressed. This is a clear sign that action needs to be taken soon for Tony’s welfare.
With the wonders of social media nowadays, huge progress has been made for animal rights. Awareness is spread, good information is falling on listening ears and caring hearts and it is benefitting the welfare of animals everywhere. The best example of this is “Black Fish,” the documentary that ultimately resulted in SeaWorld no longer being able to imprison orcas in bathtubs. However, it seemed strange to me that I had heard about the tiger that just died in Indonesia’s death zoo. Yet, until this road trip, I had not heard of Tony The Truck Stop Tiger.
In today’s world, where we know so much about animal welfare, it blows my mind that this atrocity can even happen, especially since laws like the Big Cat Law are in place to prevent backwoods tool bags from privately owning big cats. So, how is it that something like this can even happen? Why does it happen? And, most importantly, how can we stop this?
The why is simple. Tony is being exploited for the same reason all animals are exploited by humans: Money. The owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, Michael Sandlin, has been exploiting tigers for decades because it lines his pocket. In a state like Louisiana, the tiger business is booming due to state pride in the LSU Tigers (the university has no involvement with Tony).
However, paying for the cost of properly caring for a tiger is obviously not part of Mr. Sandlin’s agenda. In 2003 the USDA cited Sandlin for failure to provide veterinary care for the tigers (he used to have more than just Tony, but was ordered to give them up), improper shelter for the tigers, lack of clean drinking water and lack of qualified employees to care for the tigers. At this point in time, three tigers were removed from Mr. Sandlin’s care. Tony was left behind.
So, how is it that Sandlin is still allowed to keep Tony? Again, this answer is fairly obvious: money and corrupt politics. The Louisiana Department Of Wildlife And Fisheries was successfully sued in 2010 by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) for illegally issuing Sandlin a permit to exhibit Tony. Although Sandlin appealed, the higher court stuck with the decision to revoke the permit because they had Tony’s best interest at heart.
In 2014, however, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed an act that provided Sandlin an exemption to the 2006 law that prohibited the private ownership of dangerous and exotic large cats. Sandlin is still in the midst of countersuing to obtain a permit, but continues to display Tony as a gimmick in the meantime.
Now, here’s the one question I do not have an answer for: What can we do? For now, the ALDF is fighting the legal war with Michael Sandlin for Tony’s release. Much like the legal war that was fought with SeaWorld, it is going to be an exhausting battle. But hopefully Tony can get the happy ending he deserves.
Giving him a voice, however, is something we can do. I had not heard of Tony The Truck Stop Tiger until I passed a billboard advertising him on I-10W in Louisiana. It’s not a nice story to have come across, but hopefully it will now fall onto listening ears and caring hearts, and we can play a role in getting Tony into a sanctuary to live out the rest of his days in a prideful, dignified way that he and all tigers deserve.
On World Animal Day we hope to bring Tony’s story and that of captive big cats to people worldwide and ask for support of Tony and for U.S. residents to take action for captive big cats.
World Animal Day began in 1931 in Florence at a convention of ecologists as a means to highlight endangered species. Since then it has developed to include all animals, and countries around the world participate in and celebrate this day. World Animal Day is celebrated on October 4th – The Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi who is the patron saint of animals. Learn more on the official World Animal Day website: http://www.worldanimalday.org.uk/
Our submission for World Animal Day follows (waiting approval ~ will post link shortly)
People all over the world have become aware of the serious issue of captive tigers and big cats in the United States because of a very special tiger named Tony who has lived all of his fifteen years as a roadside attraction at a truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana USA. Anyone who has followed Tony’s story has experienced both its’ highs and lows. Hard fought victories in court by the Animal Legal Defense Fund found the permit issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was illegal and revoked; LDWF was blocked from issuing a new permit. Each victory was met with an appeal by Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, and subsequently each appeal was denied. A timeline of Tony’s case can be viewed at this link: http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/timelines/tony-the-tiger/
After exhausting all of his options via the courts, Mr. 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. The legislation was passed by the Louisiana Legislature and signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. The Animal Legal Defense Fund continues their legal battle for Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary.
Tony’s change.org petition asking the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to enforce the 2006 law banning private ownership of big cats remains open and is nearing 52,000 signatures. Please sign – it is open to everyone.
Take action for tigers and big cats! Click the picture and ask your representative to support the Big Cats & Public Safety Act!
There are an estimated 10,000 or more captive big cats living across the U.S. They’re housed in backyards, deplorable roadside zoos, and other facilities ill-equipped to care for these wild animals. On September 17, 2015 Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) introduced the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 3546) in the US House. The bill, if enacted, will prohibit private ownership of big cats in the US and help to end the national big cats in captivity crisis. We’re asking United States residents to contact their representative for their support at the following link.
Our vision for Tony is his release to a sanctuary where he will have a home that provides expert care, a natural, spacious, safe habitat, and where he will swim, run, play and engage in a tiger’s natural behaviors — finally rid of the noise, smells and his 15 year incarceration at his truck stop “prison.” Keeping Tony’s story networked is so important. Please check out his social media links and give him a”LIKE” & “FOLLOW” ~ NEVER STOP ROARING!
Join Tony’s Facebook Page:
Free Tony The Tiger On WordPress:
Follow Tony on Instagram:
Follow Tony On Twitter:
Tony On Youtube:
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is the leading force in “protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system.”
Animals used in entertainment suffer tremendously both physically and mentally – and Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Executive Director Stephen Wells’ article recounted some of ALDF’s cases including Tony, orca Lolita, Lucky the elephant and bears Ricki and Ben. Please see the post in its’ entirety here: http://aldf.org/blog/legally-brief-animals-in-entertainment/
Tony the Tiger
ALDF is fighting a lengthy legal battle to allow Tony, a tiger held captive in a truck stop parking lot in Gross Tete, Louisiana, to be moved to a sanctuary. Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, has aggressively fought to keep Tony at his truck stop, but ALDF will continue to fight on Tony’s behalf.
Re-posting from a Dodo Community article:
Tony The Tiger: 15 Years at Tiger Truck Stop!
As we celebrate our nation’s independence on July 4th, we also mark another year in Tony’s life, one that has been spent in captivity and exploitation as a roadside attraction at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana.
Signs posted on Tony’s cage, indicate he was born in July 2000, now making him 15 year old. It is reported that Tony was acquired by Michael Sandlin as a 6 month old cub from a Texas breeder.
Anyone who has followed Tony’s story has experienced both its’ highs and lows…hard fought victories in court by the Animal Legal Defense Fund found the permit issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was illegal and revoked; LDWF was blocked from issuing a new permit. Each victory was met with an appeal by Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, and subsequently each appeal was denied.
A timeline of Tony’s case can be viewed at:
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.
While Tony’s case remains embroiled in a legal battle, we remain positive, supportive and continue our advocacy on his behalf.
Tony’s change.org petition asking the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to enforce the 2006 law banning private ownership of big cats remains open and is nearing 49,000 signatures.
Petitions reach people worldwide and keep Tony’s story networked and people updated and supportive.
Stay connected with Tony:
Instagram: @TonyTheTruckStopTiger http://instagram.com/tonythetruckstoptiger/#
New media is so important for Tony. If you visit Tony, please document your visit with pictures and/or video and share them with us. You can contact “Free Tony The Tiger” at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony has truly raised awareness for captive tigers in the United States where there are an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 big cats kept captive by private owners. The exact number is a unknown because of insufficient record keeping requirements. These dangerous animals are kept as pets, exhibited in roadside zoos, perform in circuses and traveling exhibitions, and bred for profit. Cubs are used in “pay-for-play” schemes and photo ops. You can learn more about the big cat crisis by visiting: http://www.wildcatsanctuary.org/education/captive-wildlife-laws/
Our vision for Tony is his release to a sanctuary where he will have a home that provides expert care, a natural, spacious, safe habitat, and where he will swim, run, play and engage in a tiger’s natural behaviors – finally rid of the noise, smells and his 15 year incarceration at his truck stop “prison.”
(Photo of Tony’s “enclosure” at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana)
Tony has standing offers of a home at these sanctuaries, please visit the links to learn more about them.
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/
Once again we thank all of Tony’s friends for their support and for caring about him. Because of you, Tony’s ROAR will never be silent. We remain faithfully committed to Tony and look forward to his release to a wonderful sanctuary.
Stay Strong Tony.
Thanks to these compassionate young people for caring about Tony and taking such positive measures to advocate on his behalf and to their teacher for providing such a wonderful animal advocacy project and selecting such an important issue – privately owned tigers in the U.S. As we say on Twitter – Tony IS the Captive Tiger Ambassador. Thank You Animal Legal Defense Fund for your dedicated & continued efforts to secure Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary. You have the support of Tony’s friends from all over the world.
Re-posting this from ALDF:
Students Speak Up for Tony the Tiger
Posted by Jennifer Molidor, ALDF Staff Writer on May 8, 2015
Animal lawyers aren’t the only ones roaring about cruelty to captive animals like Tony the tiger. Kids care too. Tony’s plight—being confined at a Louisiana truck stop parking lot—and ALDF’s ongoing legal battle to release him from that concrete nightmare got the attention of one awesome 4th grade class at Guilmette Elementary School in Massachusetts.
This spring, Ms. Buck’s 4th grade class used Tony’s cause to shape a persuasive writing and research project. Students were so excited about Tony, Ms. Buck says, the project “took on a life of its own.” Students created posters and circulated petitions as part of this project, and wrote letters to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, asking him to take Tony’s suffering seriously.
In particular, students were impressed by ALDF senior attorney Matthew Liebman’s work—Matthew has led Tony’s legal battle for years. Ms. Buck explains:
During their research, the students learned about the Animal Legal Defense Fund… as they read articles about Tony in which you were quoted. They suggested that I forward a sample of their work to you directly because they believe you will be supportive of their efforts.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is touched and inspired by the dedication of these young advocates. Their letters urge fairness and humane treatment of animals like Tony, and his release to a reputable sanctuary. They also make persuasive arguments backed up with at least three points of solid evidence to prove their points and maintain a truly fair and balanced tone, appealing to the governor’s ethical and responsibility.
In conclusion, we respectfully ask you, Governor Jindal, to do what is right and fair. Hear our voice. –
Do you know how it feels to be locked up in a cage for 14 years? Tony does and that’s why I want Tony the Truck Stop Tiger to go to a sanctuary. –
[Tony’s owner Michael Sandlin] is threatening Tony’s and the public’s safety by keeping Tony. … In fact, Michael Sandlin got written up for “unsanitary feeding practices” by the USDA. –
Tony’s cage is like being locked up in jail. —
As Matthew told the children, “support from people like you keeps my spirits up and helps me keep fighting for his freedom. Your voices join thousands of people who are demanding that Tony be sent to a sanctuary. Sometimes, if enough people raise enough of a ruckus, things can change for the better. You should be proud of your contribution (and thankful you have a teacher who encourages this kind of civic participation). I hope Tony will one day be able to breathe clean air instead of diesel fumes and hear the grass rustling in the wind instead of the idling engines of trucks. Thanks for helping get him a step closer to that day!”
This outstanding class inspires each of us to keep fighting to protect animals. As Matthew says, “even though these battles can be frustrating and slow, don’t give up. The animals are counting on you to speak up for them. Your voice has power. Use it!”
Want to get your class involved in advocacy projects for animals? Check out ALDF’s brand-new youth advocacy action kit!
FTTT NOTE: We thought it would be a good idea to post a story about Tony to the Dodo Community page. (This post was created by a member of the Dodo Community, where anyone can post fascinating stories, photos, videos and more.) Link to this post on The Dodo: https://www.thedodo.com/community/FreeTonyTheTiger/help-raise-awareness-for-capti-985877325.html
Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger, was born in July 2000 and has been at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana since he was a cub. According to Mr. Sandlin (Tony’s “owner”) he got Tony from a breeder in Texas. In 2003, three tigers: Toby and Rainbow 18 years old and 8 year old Khan were removed from the truck stop due to AWA volations which included: “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.” The USDA allowed Sandlin to keep one tiger, Tony, who was 3 years old at the time.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund continues to fight for Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary.(Photo ©FreeTonyTheTiger2014)
Tony has brought worldwide attention to the serious issue of captive tigers in the U.S. where there are more privately owned tigers (est. 5,000 – 10,000) than left in the wild (est. 3,200.) Regarding Tony: Michael Sandlin’s state permit was found illegal and revoked in 2011 by Judge Michael Caldwell; this decision was upheld by The Louisiana Appeal Court and the Louisiana Supreme Court. Though the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries had the authority to seize Tony and enforce the law and these rulings, they refused to. When Mr. Sandlin exhausted his appeals he enlisted Sen. Rick Ward to propose a bill to exempt himself from the 2006 law barring private ownership of big cats. The bill was passed by the Louisiana Legislature and signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has been working tirelessly on Tony’s case and has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Louisiana taxpayers, challenging the state’s new special exemption. http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/timelines/tony-the-tiger/
Sign at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana where Tony has been used as a roadside attraction since 2000. (Photo ©FreeTonyTheTiger2014)
Three sanctuaries have standing offers of homes for Tony. One such sanctuary’s tiger habitats start at 8,000 sq ft or more, all natural substrate, perches, hammock, pool, toys/enrichment and access to an indoor temperature controlled building. Keepers have 4 year zoology degrees and a vet hospital on-site. Another sanctuary recently debuted a 2.5 acre habitat for their cats to “vacation in” with platforms, dens, trees, foliage, a pond and enrichment toys. A sanctuary in Colorado, whose executive director and founder has 35 years of experience in rescuing, transporting, relocating and acclimating tigers and other big cats to their new habitats without incident, can provide a natural habitat 10-20 acres in size on rolling prairie grasslands, complete with swimming ponds and seasonal lakes. They all have underground dens (that stay about 60 degrees year round), shade shelters and play structures, and all kinds of toys and enrichment. His enclosure may be 3200 sq ft, but it’s a dismal 1600 sq ft of concrete and a small “grassy area” that offers him no opportunity to run or engage in any natural behaviors. He has been subjected to the noise and smells of the truck stop and the taunting of tourists for 15 years.
Comparison of Tony’s dismal cage at the truck stop and a tiger in a 2.5 acre habitat at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa FL. (Photo ©FreeTonyTheTiger2014, Big Cat Rescue – Tampa FL, PuppyProtector1)
GET SOCIAL WITH TONY!
While Tony’s legal case continues, one of the most important ways we can help Tony is by keeping him in the public eye through social media.
Tony is known on Twitter as the Captive Tiger Ambassador because he raises important awareness for captive tigers in the United States. (Photo ©FreeTonyTheTiger2014)
Tony Nominated For A Shorty Award!
The Shorty Awards recognize the best in social media. Tony’s nomination not only raises awareness to his plight, but to the 5,000 plus captive tigers in the United States. Captive tigers suffer in roadside zoos, circuses, and traveling exhibitions; tigers cubs are bred for profit and used in photo & feeding ops, when they are no longer longer “cute” and “legal” to exploit, and turn into 300 to 500 lb. dangerous cats, they face years of captive life in roadside zoos/exhibits and pseudo-sanctuaries. Others are bred to produce more cubs, end up in canned hunts, or are killed and sold on the black market.
Voting ends February 19th 2015 at 11:59pmEST ~ So if you haven’t voted please do!
As of this post Tony is in 4th place with 182 nominations. Each Official Category will have 7 finalists. These include 3 with the most nominations from the public, 3 selected by members of the Real-Time Academy and 1 Wildcard Finalist. The Wildcard Finalist will be selected by the Nominating Board from among the top 25 nominees with the most nominations after the nominating period ends.
Have a Twitter Account? Click the TWEET button in the picture above to nominate Tony! (Photo ©FreeTonyTheTiger2014)
Ways to Nominate:
- Click the Tweet button in the picture above
- On Twitter: Send a tweet that starts with:
I nominate @TonyTiger2000 for a Shorty Award in #nonhuman because…
Votes must have a reason after “because…” or they won’t count!
Note: Retweeted nominations and tweets starting with @replies do not count toward the rankings. Voting for the same person in the same category more than once just replaces the text of your original vote; it does not count as an additional vote.
Watch and share Tony’s Campaign video:
More info on Tony and the Shorty Awards on his blog:
The above picture of Tony appeared in the February 2015 issue of Smithsonian Magazine. (Photo ©FreeTonyTheTiger2014)
Tony’s picture was recently featured in Smithsonian Magazine in an article about captive tigers in the U.S.:
There was also an article in The Guardian on Tony:
Stay Social With Tony!
Share his Facebook page and posts:
On Twitter? Follow @FreeTonyTiger & @TonyTiger2000 and Nominate Tony for a Shorty Awards!
Tony has his own Instagram account: @tonythetruckstoptiger
Tony’s Petition Is Still Open: https://www.change.org/p/ldwf-enforce-louisiana-state-law-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary Already signed? Please share the link!
Keep ROARING for Tony!
Tony September 2014 (Photo ©FreeTonyTheTiger2014)