Archive for the ‘private ownership’ Tag

From The ALDF: Help Protect Captive Tigers in the U.S.   Leave a comment

While the disturbing circumstances surrounding Tony the truck stop tiger have received enormous attention, there are an estimated 5,000 – 10,000 additional captive tigers throughout the U.S. The majority of these big cats are classified by the federal government as “generic” tigers – tigers that are not purebred and are not in the same classification as endangered tigers in zoos (Tony, for example, is a Siberian-Bengal mix). Most of these tigers are kept as exotic “pets” and are virtually unregulated by the federal government due to a 1998 United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) rule that exempted “generic” tigers from the permit and reporting requirements that normally apply to endangered species. Due to the current lack of regulation by the federal government, there is not an accurate count of how many thousands of these tigers are living in the country, or whether they live in potentially abusive – and dangerous – conditions.

After years of pressure by tiger advocates, the USFWS, on August 22, published a proposed rule that would eliminate this generic tiger exemption. Should it be adopted, all tigers in the country, regardless of their lineage, would be better tracked and regulated by the federal government. People who own these tigers would be required to report annually on the number of tigers they have in captivity and on activities involving the tigers. Until this information becomes available, there is only anecdotal knowledge about the extent and whereabouts of the tiger population in this country. Such critical information could play a vital role in advancing laws that acknowledge and protect these currently “invisible” animals.

Take Action!
The USFWS is accepting comments on this proposed change through September 21, 2011 and your help is crucially needed! Please submit a comment in support of the proposal to eliminate the exemption for “generic” tigers today. Your support will help demonstrate to the USFWS that Americans are deeply concerned about better protections and oversight for captive tigers.

Tigers Like Tony Need Your Help Now!!!   Leave a comment

A circus tiger looks out of his transport cage after being loaded onto a truck. Photo by & © DM De Santis

Tony represents one of the thousands of privately owned tigers in the United States whose numbers are greater than tigers left in the wild. Captive U.S. tigers languish in roadside zoos and attractions, are exploited and abused in circuses, photo ops and exhibitions, entertainment shows, pseudo-sanctuaries, bred for profit or are owned as “pets.” Others end up in canned hunts or on the black market.

There is something you can do to help these tigers which in turn helps wild tigers as well.

The USFWS is seeking public comment – until Sept. 21 – regarding their proposal to close the loophole which allows private breeding and no registration of what they refer to as “generic tigers.”

Please add your comment (preferably in your own words) at:!documentDetail;D=FWS-R9-IA-2011-0027-0001 stating you support closing the exemption that currently allows unregistered, generic tigers, and that regulations must be strengthened so that captive breeding of tigers in the U.S. is strictly monitored and controlled. More information at: Good News! You Can End Tiger Farming in the U.S.

Watch this video from Big Cat Rescue of Tampa Florida and thanks to Big Cat Rescue of Tampa Florida, The Wildcat Sanctuary and WildCat Haven Sanctuary for networking this information and for their dedicated efforts to ending private ownership of tigers and big cats. Share this post and take action for these great cats who deserve our respect and protection.

From ALDF: Attorneys Fighting to Free Tony the Truck Stop Tiger Head to Court   Leave a comment

May 4th, 2011

Baton Rouge Court to Consider the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Lawsuit Against the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for Issuing Illegal Permit Allowing Tony to Be Kept on Display in Iberville Parish

For immediate release

Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund  
Megan Backus Animal Legal Defense Fund  

BATON ROUGE, La. – Tomorrow morning, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and outraged Louisiana residents will square off against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in East Baton Rouge District Court over the legality of a permit that allows Tony, a ten-year old Siberian-Bengal tiger, to be confined as a roadside exhibit at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La. In its lawsuit, filed on April 11, ALDF argues that the Department violated state law in granting the permit to Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin.

When: Thursday, May 5, 9:00am
Where: East Baton Rouge District Courthouse, Judge R. Michael Caldwell’s courtroom, 300 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge

During Thursday’s  hearing, the court will hear ALDF’s argument that Sandlin’s permit to own and display Tony should be invalidated, and that Tony should be released into the custody of ALDF or an accredited animal sanctuary, where he can receive care and treatment and live out his life in a more natural environment, free from the 24-hour exposure to noise and diesel fumes. The court may choose to issue a decision in the case immediately following the hearing.

ALDF’s lawsuit to free Tony has drawn the support of high profile advocates like Leonardo DiCaprio and True Blood’s Kristin Bauer and has galvanized activists around the world. This week, ALDF delivered to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries over 31,000 signed petitions urging it to revoke Sandlin’s permit to keep Tony. Tony has been on exhibit at the Tiger Truck Stop since 2000; he has lived there with no other tiger companions since 2003. Joining ALDF as a co-plaintiff in the case is former Louisiana Representative Warren Triche, who authored the state’s law that led to the ban on the private ownership of big cats, including tigers. Two other Louisiana residents, also deeply concerned by Tony’s long-time suffering, are additional co-plaintiffs. The law offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. are providing pro bono assistance with the lawsuit.

“Louisiana has explicit regulations designed to protect tigers like Tony, and the Department has disregarded state law and misused taxpayer money in arbitrarily granting the permit that allows Michael Sandlin to keep Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We are heading to court to ensure that Tony is no longer subjected to diesel fumes, harassment, and the unimaginable suffering of life in his lonely cage.”

Copies of the lawsuit and photographs of Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop are available upon request. An attorney for ALDF will be attending the hearing and available for interviews. Reporters attending the hearing should arrive in advance, as it is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. sharp.

From The Fight for Tony the Truck Stop Tiger Heads to Court   Leave a comment

by Stephanie Feldstein · May 04, 2011

For Tony, the Siberian-Bengal tiger who spends his days as a roadside attraction at a Louisiana truck stop, this week feels as dismal as any other. But Tony’s advocates hope this week will mark the beginning of the end of his captivity.

On May 5, the Animal Legal Defense Fund will appear in East Baton Rouge District Court when the legal battle for Tony’s freedom begin. At that time, they will deliver your petition signatures to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Last week, Leonardo DiCaprio, a longtime advocate for tigers, urged his fans on Twitter and Facebook to help Tony. “Have you heard about Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger living at a truck stop in Louisiana?” DiCaprio wrote on Facebook. “This tiger has been living in a small inadequate and inhumane enclosure since 2003. We need to help the Animal Legal Defense Fund in urging the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the permit that allows this.”

Not only does LDWF have the power to revoke the permit that allows Tiger Truck Stop to keep Tony behind bars but, Animal Legal Defense Fund contends, it was illegal for them to issue the permit in the first place.

In court tomorrow, ALDF will begin to argue the case that the wildlife department violated state regulations on private ownership of big cats. As of 2006, tigers were no longer allowed as pets or exhibits in Louisiana, unless they were already legally owned and grandfathered in at the time the new regulations came into effect.

But ever since 1993, tigers haven’t been allowed in Tiger Truck Stop’s hometown of Iberville. So, as far as state law is concerned, Tony is contraband.

Officials have spent years ignoring the inhumane, illegal situation at Tiger Truck Stop. But then people began to learn about Tony. And they began to speak out for him.

As the call for his release to a sanctuary has grown into a roar, officials have been trying to backtrack. Iberville parish granted Tiger Truck Stop an exemption to keep Tony in 2009 … years too late to qualify for the state permit. Yet once again, in 2010, the state renewed the permit anyway.

What’s different now is that Tony has a legal team that’s forcing the wildlife department to answer for its inhumane inconsistencies in court. And Tony has you to keep his story in the spotlight and pressure the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to do the right thing and get Tony out of the truck stop and into a sanctuary.

Photo credit: Big Cat Rescue

Stephanie Feldstein is a Editor who has been part of the animal welfare and rescue community for over a decade, and most recently worked for an environmental organization.

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