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ALDF: Strengthen Federal Law to Protect Big Cats   Leave a comment

Click the tiger’s picture to help big cats like Tony!

Please take action for big cats via this alert from The Animal Legal Defense Fund.


Many big cats such as Tony the truck stop tiger languish in deplorable conditions with no hope of freedom. Join us in urging Congressional representatives to support a new law to protect big cats from a similar fate.

Protect big cats and public safety!

In October 2011, sheriff’s deputies in Zanesville, Ohio responded to calls about a loose African lion and bear sighted by neighbors of an exotic animal “farm.” Officers soon discovered that the farm’s owner, Terry Thompson, had intentionally released over 50 exotic animals from his farm and then committed suicide. In the name of public safety, the deputies tracked down and shot the released animals. At the conclusion of the massacre, the pile of carcasses included 18 tigers, 17 African lions, and three mountain lions, as well as bears, wolves, and a baboon. Thompson had previous convictions for cruelty to animals and possession of illegal firearms.

This tragedy highlights the critical need for laws to prohibit possession of wild and exotic animals as “pets.” Among the problems caused by the wild animal trade:

  • In the U.S., an estimated 10,000 – 20,000 big cats are currently in private hands, causing significant public safety concerns by endangering neighbors — including children and pets — as well as officers who act as first responders.
  • The animals are frequently victims of neglect, living in deplorable conditions. Additionally, some captors might use the animals for illegal international trade in their parts.
  • Taxpayers and local agencies bear a high financial burden when dangerous animals escape or when they are seized due to cruelty and neglect.

The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R. 4122) would help stem the exotic “pet” trade by strengthening provisions in federal law by prohibiting future breeding, possessing, or owning of lions, tigers, and other big cats. The bill also would require people who currently possess big cats to register those animals with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This bill amends the Lacey Act, which already provides exemptions for government agencies and wildlife sanctuaries. H.R. 4122 adds an exemption for accredited zoos, too.

Take Action!

Urge your Congressional representative to support the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act to protect people and animals by completing the information to the right! H.R. 4122 has bipartisan support, but it is languishing in a subcommittee of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Please take action today!


Tony the truck stop tiger is still waiting in his cage   Leave a comment

Tony the truck stop tiger still waits in his cage
Photo credit:
Animal Legal Defense Fund

Wildlife Headlines Examiner
May 3, 2012

Tony the truck stop tiger is an adult male Siberian/Bengal tiger that has been kept in a cage located at a Louisiana truck stop called Tiger Truck Stop.  For well over a year, advocacy groups such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has been working very hard to get Tony relocated to a suitable sanctuary.

Today, a judge in Baton Rouge ruled that ALDF did not have a legal standing to force the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to do their job.  In an attempt to get them to act upon a ruling issued late last year, the ALDF filed a lawsuit against the LDWF in the hopes of forcing them to enforce Louisiana’s ban on big cat ownership.  Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, has been without the required permit since it expired in December, 2011.

Keeping wild animals as pets is a hot topic lately; especially in the wake of last October’s Ohio massacre where 49 animals were slaughtered.  The nightmare began when the animals’ owner, Terry Thompson, released them from their cages before committing suicide.  By the time everything was over, 18 Bengal tigers, 17 lions, six black bears, 2 grizzly bears, three mountain lions, two wolves and a baboon were dead.  Fear for the public’s safety was the chief reason why the animals were not spared.

Public opinion is trending in favor of a wild animal’s welfare and people tend to be overwhelmingly in support of Tony’s relocation. Since the ALDF got involved, over 50,000 signatures have been added to their petition urging for the animal’s release.  However, the LDWF is dragging their feet and the judge even went so far as to say that the department has the discretion to decide whether or not to enforce the law.  However, the ALDF is still optimistic that once all the legal horseplay is over, the law will prevail and Tony will finally be released from the truck stop’s cage.  There is even talk of an appeal being filed on today’s ruling.  In addition, everyone is due back in court on Monday, May 7, 2012 for another hearing.  This time the judge will hear ALDF’s petition asking for an intervention in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Tiger Truck Stop and Michael Sandlin who will attempt to argue that Louisiana’s big cat ban is unconstitutional. But for now, Tony must still wait in his cage until the courts decide his fate.

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