Archive for the ‘private ownership of tigers’ Tag

Smithsonian Magazine: America Has a Tiger Problem And No One’s Sure How to Solve It   Leave a comment

Re-posting this article from Smithsonian Magazine that mentions the importance of The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act,  (see links below to ask your Congressional reps to co-sponsor it) and features Tony’s picture and story.

http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/get-involved/ask-senate-protect-people-and-big-cats

http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/get-involved/tell-congress-protect-people-and-big-cats

smith tony 2

America Has a Tiger Problem And No One’s Sure How to Solve It
No one even knows how many of the big cats are in the United States
By Max Kutner
Smithsonian Magazine
February 2015

Clayton James Eller loved going to his aunt’s house in Millers Creek, North Carolina, where he got to visit Tigger, her 317-pound pet Bengal tiger. One December day in 2003, ten-year-old C.J. was shoveling snow near Tigger’s outdoor pen when the animal attacked him from an opening in the chain-link fence and dragged him under. C.J.’s uncle grabbed his rifle and shot the tiger, but the boy died before he reached the hospital.

Tiger attacks in the United States are always dramatic news—there were 27 reported between 1990 and 2006, with seven people and most of the tigers killed. But maulings aren’t the only problem arising from the perhaps surprising fact that there are more captive tigers in the U.S. than there are wild tigers on earth.

Conservationists estimate that about 3,200 wild tigers remain around the world, while there are some 5,000 tigers in captivity in the U.S., according to the World Wildlife Fund. Even that number is probably low, says Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue, an animal sanctuary in Tampa, Florida, because reporting is “based on the honor system, and we’re dealing with a lot of people that are really dishonorable.” Edward J. Grace, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s deputy assistant director for law enforcement, estimates that the nation is home to more than 10,000 captive tigers. Only about 350 of those, says the WWF, are held in facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

For the thousands of tigers in private hands, from those in big-top circuses and roadside attractions to others in backyard dens, the regulations are inconsistent at best. Six states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Nevada, Alabama and West Virginia) place no restrictions on owning a tiger; 14 states require a permit; and 30 states prohibit ownership, though in some of those states people have been known to flout the law, as in the famous case of the man who kept a tiger in his apartment in Harlem.

One of the problems associated with these captive tigers, animal welfare advocates say, is that many of the creatures suffer. For example, the popular and stunningly beautiful white tigers—all descendants of a single, anomalous albino Bengal named Mohan, captured in 1951, and bred with his daughter—continue to be inbred with immediate family members to disabling effect; one frequent defect is severe strabismus, or crossed eyes, which hampers vision and coordination. Moreover, animal rescuers point out that many privately owned tigers live in deplorable conditions. Some tigers spend lifetimes in small, unsanitary enclosures. And wildlife advocates have accused tiger cub exhibitors of depriving the cats of sleep and exercise, and endangering both animals and people. One well-known captive animal is Tony the Tiger, a 550-pound Siberian-Bengal mix who has spent more than a decade in a cage at a truck stop in Louisiana. Baskin has been working with the Animal Legal Defense Fund to bring Tony to her sanctuary, but not everyone thinks his owner should be forced to send him. A Facebook group called “Keep Tony Where He Is” has more than 10,000 “Likes,” and Tony’s owner has called animal rights activists terrorists.

Some advocates argue that America’s other tiger problem, to put it bluntly, is hypocrisy, at least on the world stage. In China, a booming market for tiger parts has fueled the growth of legal “tiger farms,” where the animals are raised to be slaughtered for luxury décor (a tiger pelt can run tens of thousands of dollars) and pricey tiger-bone wine (up to $135 for a half-liter bottle). U.S. conservation groups and others have criticized the tiger farms both on humane grounds and for stoking demand for tigers—including poached wild animals. But Chinese officials dispute the claim that farmed tigers threaten animals in the wild, and, in any case, Americans have little credibility on the subject, given our own large but untallied population of neglected tigers and the patchwork of weak or nonexistent protections, according to J.A. Mills, a wildlife conservationist and author of the new book Blood of the Tiger. “U.S. tigers have a direct bearing on what China does,” she says, “and what China does has a direct bearing on whether wild tigers survive.”

So some advocates are heartened that America is trying to get its regulatory act together. The Fish and Wildlife Service has long overseen buying and selling “pure” tiger subspecies (such as Bengals and Amurs) across state lines, but the agency has limited authority because most privately held tigers are mixed breeds; a 2011 move to expand the agency’s authority over all tigers is reportedly close to being approved. Even more sweeping is the proposed Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, which would formally restrict tiger ownership to facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. (A grandfather clause would allow unaccredited owners to keep their tigers as long as they register with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.) The bipartisan bill was introduced in 2013 and may come up again in the new Congressional term. Some tiger owners and businesses feel the bill is overly restrictive, but proponents say it would go a long way toward closing the gap between what we say about the treatment of captive tigers and what we’re actually willing to do about it.

Direct Link: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/america-has-tiger-problem-and-no-ones-sure-how-solve-it-180953974/

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/

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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

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