Archive for the ‘Pat Craig’ Tag

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 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/

Update on SB 250 ~ May 29, 2014   Leave a comment

free tony

May 28, 2014:

Despite brilliant legal testimony from ALDF’s Carter Dillard and Chris Green on behalf of Tony, and Pat Craig of The Wild Animal Sanctuary who  provided his expertise backed with 34 years of experience with rescuing big cats, the Louisiana House Natural Resources and Environment Committee passed SB 250, Senator Rick Ward’s bill to “exempt certain persons from the requirements of the big exotic cats rules” (specifically to allow Michael Sandlin to keep Tony at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete Louisiana.) The final vote was 10 YES to 6 NO. The bill now moves to the House and is scheduled for floor debate on May 30, 2014.

sb 250 may 28 2014

Breakdown of the May 28, 2014 vote by the Louisiana House Natural Resources & Environment Committee.

 

LOUISIANA RESIDENTS: Please TAKE ACTION AGAINST SB 250. Contact your State House Representatives. Voice your OPPOSITION to this bill and ask them to vote NO on SB 250.

See this post from ALDF: http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/action-alerts/protect-tigers-from-inhumane-captivity/ and TAKE ACTION by entering your zip here to contact your representative: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5154/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=15813

Carter Dillard, Pat Craig and Chris Green provided excellent testimony against SB 250.

Carter Dillard, Pat Craig and Chris Green provided excellent testimony against SB 250.

 

We ALL can help Tony by sharing this information.

Once again THANK YOU Animal Legal Defense Fund, Chris Green, Carter Dillard, Pat Craig and EVERY ONE who is fighting for Tony and his release to a reputable sanctuary that will provide him the care, life, home and respect he deserves.

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