Archive for the ‘stephen wells’ Tag

Animal Legal Defense Fund Urges USDA Inspection for Tony the Tiger   Leave a comment

Posted on April 11, 2017

Truck Stop Tiger’s Potential Failing Health Requires Immediate Government Intervention

Contact: media@aldf.org

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Animal Legal Defense Fund has submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture requesting an inspection of Tony, based on recent information raising concerns regarding the tiger’s health. Tony, a 16-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, is held in a cage at Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop where he lives amidst diesel fumes and the roar of the adjacent highway. The USDA licenses the Truck Stop under the federal Animal Welfare Act.

For years, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has worked to have Tony moved to a reputable sanctuary. While the legal battle continues, recent observations by members of the public and a private investigator raise concerns about Tony’s health, prompting the Animal Legal Defense Fund to call on the USDA to inspect the Tiger Truck Stop facility. The group’s letter urges the USDA to investigate Animal Welfare Act violations and determine whether Tony’s medical condition requires immediate independent veterinary care and treatment.

Tony has been observed experiencing diarrhea, potentially suppressed appetite and lethargic behavior.  A veterinarian with expertise treating exotic animals like Tony has reviewed recent photos and video and concluded he is suffering from at least two issues, including a kyphosis (or abnormal rounding) of the T-L spine and an impairment causing him to limp. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is not aware of any evidence that Tony is receiving the adequate veterinary care he is guaranteed under the Animal Welfare Act.

“Tony should have been transferred to a sanctuary years ago, but now that his health is potentially failing, the cruelty of confining him in a gas station parking lot is compounded,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “At this point it’s the USDA’s responsibility to step in and enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act.”

For more information visit, aldf.org

Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Legal Battle to Free Tony the Tiger Moves Forward   Leave a comment

Re-posting from Animal Legal Defense Fund:

Posted on March 28, 2017

Petition Filed to Intervene in Tony the Truck Stop Tiger Lawsuit 

Contact: Natalia Lima, natalia@aldf.org, 201 679 7088

BATON ROUGE, La. – This week, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed an amended petition to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit against the state of Louisiana, as part of its campaign to free Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger held in a cage at Gross Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop. Michael Sandlin, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, keeps 16-year-old Tony in his gas station parking lot, amidst diesel fumes and the roar of the adjacent highway. The amended intervention petition is the latest step in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s years-long battle to have Tony moved to a reputable sanctuary.

Sandlin has been able to maintain captivity of Tony despite a state law banning private possession of big cats, because Sandlin successfully lobbied Louisiana to pass Act 697, a law exempting Sandlin – and only Sandlin – from the big cat ban. The Animal Legal Defense Fund argues that this “one man exemption” violates the state constitution, which prohibits “special laws” designed to benefit a specific private individual or interest.  The law firms Jones Walker, Proskauer Rose, and Baker Donelson are providing pro bono representation in the case.

“We have worked continuously to free Tony the Truck Stop Tiger for almost six years,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We will continue to work on his behalf until he is relocated to a sanctuary equipped to meet his psychological and physical needs.”

Former Representative Warren Triche Jr. championed the 2006 ban on private possession of big, exotic cats. He was inspired, in part, to introduce the legislation by the reprehensible conditions that Tony is forced to endure. Former Representative Triche is now joining with the Animal Legal Defense Fund in the amended petition to challenge Act 697 and restore the purpose of the original 2006 ban.

In August 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries after it unlawfully granted Sandlin an exhibition permit for Tony. The court ruled in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s favor and ordered the department to revoke Sandlin’s permit. The Louisiana Court of Appeals upheld the ruling in 2013, but Tony remains in captivity at the Tiger Truck Stop because of Act 697.

For more information visit, aldf.org

From “Legally Brief: Animals in Entertainment” ~ ALDF Will Continue to Fight on Tony’s Behalf   Leave a comment

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

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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.

via @ALDF: Animal Legal Defense Fund Back in Court to Protect Tony the Tiger From Losing Statutory Protection   Leave a comment

tony deePosted on November 14, 2014

Direct Link: http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-legal-defense-fund-back-in-court-to-protect-tony-the-tiger-from-losing-statutory-protection/

For immediate release:

Contact:
Megan Backus, ALDF
Lisa Franzetta, ALDF

BATON ROUGE — Arguments will be heard Monday in a lawsuit brought by the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to protect Tony, a tiger living at Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop. The lawsuit alleges that Louisiana lawmakers violated the state’s constitutional prohibition on “special laws” when they exempted Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, from existing animal welfare and public safety laws by passing Act 697 in June. ALDF is representing former Louisiana Representative Warren Triche, Jr. (who sponsored the 2006 ban on private ownership of dangerous large exotic cats) and other Louisiana residents and taxpayers. The Tiger Truck Stop has asked the court to dismiss ALDF’s lawsuit against the State of Louisiana, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Tiger Truck Stop and owner Michael Sandlin.

Where: 19th Judicial District Court, Division 23, Room 8a, 300 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA.

When: Monday, November 17, 2014. 9:30am CT

The sole purpose of Act 697 is to allow Sandlin to keep the 14-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger caged in a gas station parking lot by exempting Sandlin from Louisiana’s 2006 ban, a law Sandlin had broken for years. Act 697 undoes legal victories achieved by ALDF on Tony the tiger’s behalf, and retroactively removes protections Tony received under the ban. In a separate lawsuit, the Louisiana courts held that Sandlin’s captivity of Tony violated state law.

“Act 697 violates the Louisiana Constitution and the intent of the 2006 ban, which was passed unanimously by the Louisiana legislature,” said Stephen Wells, executive director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Louisianans want Tony to live in a reputable sanctuary, not a gas station parking lot—and they don’t want their representatives to hand out special privileges to lawbreakers like the Tiger Truck Stop, which profits from animal suffering.”

Copies of the lawsuit and photographs of Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop are available upon request.

FTTT Note: Please leave your comments in support of ALDF’s efforts and Tony’s re-homing to a big cat sanctuary at the direct link: http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-legal-defense-fund-back-in-court-to-protect-tony-the-tiger-from-losing-statutory-protection/

 

Legally Brief: @ALDF’s Case to Free Tony the Tiger   Leave a comment

Re-posting from ALDF

Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF Executive Director on May 22, 2014

Legally Brief

Our campaign to free Tony the Tiger continues. What would it mean to “free” a 14 year-old Siberian-Bengal Tiger named Tony who has spent all his life in a small cage at a Louisiana truck stop? Freeing Tony would mean sending him to a reputable sanctuary, where he can finally have some peace in his lifetime and live like a tiger—rather than as a truck stop gimmick in a concrete prison pacing back and forth continuously, surrounded by noise and diesel truck exhaust. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has spent years in court fighting for Tony’s freedom. And we won—our victory was upheld by the Louisiana Court of Appeal, and the Louisiana State Supreme Court refused to revisit that decision. But Tony’s owner, having lost repeatedly in court, while continuing to display Tony illegally, has tried to sneak a bill, “SB 250,” through the Louisiana legislature that would allow him to skirt the law.

That’s why the Animal Legal Defense Fund works to protect animals by covering all the bases within the legal system. We work with legislatures to ensure laws reflect what’s best for animals. We work with law enforcement to ensure that these laws are actually enforced. And—in addition to our highly successful animal law education initiatives, with hundreds of student ALDF chapters in the top law schools in the land—when individuals violate the law, like Tony’s owner, we file suit and take them to court.

The Louisiana legislature is now considering “SB 250,” which, if passed, could essentially undo every victory ALDF has achieved for Tony and relegate him to a life living in a truck stop parking lot. The bill aims to “exempt certain persons from the requirements of the big exotic cats rules.” Exempting “certain persons” (meaning Tony’s owner) would not only remove Tony’s legal protections, but it would allow an individual like Tony’s owner to undermine the judicial process. Aside from keeping Tony imprisoned, passing such a bill would send the dangerous message that if you don’t like a law, you can just hire some lobbyists to try to rewrite it—in this case Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of tigers and other exotic cats. As that law’s sponsor, representative Warren Triche, notes, it was written specifically to prevent tragic situations like Tony’s. For this tiger, and for all animals, we must make it clear that playing fast and loose with the law is unacceptable, no matter how deep your pockets or how tight your political connections.

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This frustrating saga shows how hard it is for animal advocates to protect animals. But long as we work together to unite all aspects of the legal system, from criminal justice to innovative litigation and legislative affairs, we will win the case against animal cruelty. It’s important that everyone stands up for animals and does their part.

Here at the Animal Legal Defense Fund, we have a strong connection to Tony’s plight, and our hearts break at the possibility that he may never get his freedom. And if this kind of sneaky, back-door affront to our legal system is allowed to continue, many other tigers may face the same fate.

Tony urgently needs your help—please take action for Tony today, and read more about his story here.

Take Action Button

http://aldf.org/blog/legally-brief-aldfs-case-to-free-tony-the-tiger/

 

New La. bill could keep Tony at Tiger Truck Stop via Mansfield Animal Advocacy Examiner   Leave a comment

Truck Stop Tiger Could Be Denied Legal Protections with New Louisiana Bill via @ALDF   Leave a comment

TONYThe following posted today from the Animal Legal Defense Fund:

Posted on April 22, 2014

Special Exemption Would Keep Tiger at Gross Tete Truck Stop; Advocates Urge Immediate Action

For immediate release:

Contact:
Lisa Franzetta, ALDF
Megan Backus, ALDF

BATON ROUGE — The national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is calling on the Louisiana state legislature today to defend existing protections for tigers, in light of a bill that could undo every victory made by the organization on Tony the tiger’s behalf. On April 9th, with less than one day’s notice, the Louisiana Senate Committee on Natural Resources rushed through approval of “SB 250.” SB 250 undermines a 2006 state law that bans private ownership of tigers and other large exotic cats by exempting “certain persons from the requirements of the big exotic cats rules.” The bill is an attempt to retroactively remove Tony’s protection under the 2006 law, and allow Michael Sandlin to retain possession of Tony—a 14 year old Siberian Bengal tiger confined at Grosse Tete’sTiger Truck Stop by Sandlin in violation of the state ban. The Senate is expected to debate the measure today.

Sandlin has been in illegal possession of Tony the tiger since 2000, displaying him in a cage at the Gross Tete truckstop where he is subjected to harmful fumes and excessive noise. In 2011, ALDF sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for unlawfully issuing Sandlin a permit to keep and exhibit Tony. ALDF was joined in the suit by several Louisiana taxpayers, including former Rep. Warren Triche, Jr, the sponsor of the 2006 ban, and has been receiving pro bono assistance from the law firm Baker Donelson. In April 2013, the Court of Appeal held that Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop were ineligible for a big cat permit and could no longer keep Tony. In October 2013, the Louisiana Supreme Court rejected Sandlin’s petition and let that decision stand.Triche explained, “Tony’s situation played a principal role in passing the 2006 bill, as he was a perfect example of why such legislation was needed.”

“ALDF’s Court of Appeals victory to help protect Tony the tiger still stands, yet Sandlin continues to try to undermine the law, year after year,” said Stephen Wells, executive director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund.“This bill was deviously snuck in the back door, with no notice, and is one more attempt from Sandlin to say he is not accountable by law and should receive special favors—Tony deserves the court to uphold the law.”

Copies of the lawsuit and photographs of Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop are available upon request.

http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/truck-stop-tiger-could-be-denied-legal-protections-with-new-louisiana-bill/

ALDF Asks Louisiana High Court Not to Hear Tiger Case   Leave a comment

tonyNEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Animal Legal Defense Fund has asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to let stand two lower court rulings that the owner of Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete cannot have a license to keep a tiger.

The nonprofit group says it filed a brief Wednesday with the court saying the trial judge and an appeal court were correct to rule that Michael Sandlin was not eligible for a permit.

Twelve-year-old Tony is the latest in a series of tigers that Sandlin has kept at the truck stop near Baton Rouge. He has asked the high court to hear his case. His attorney, Joan Treadway Morris of Baton Rouge, contends that both the state district court in Iberville Parish and the state’s First Circuit Court of Appeal made numerous mistakes in their rulings.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund brief argues that Sandlin’s request for review lacks legal merit and doesn’t raise any new significant questions.

“Tony has waited long enough. It’s been more than two years since the district court first ruled — correctly — that Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are ineligible for a permit to confine Tony,” executive director Stephen Wells said in a news release. “We expect that the Louisiana Supreme Court will find Sandlin’s latest filing meritless and finally put an end to this case.”

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/Group-asks-La-high-court-not-to-hear-tiger-case-4671465.php

ALDF: A Truck Stop is No Home For a Tiger   Leave a comment

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has been tireless in their efforts to see Tony released to a reputable sanctuary, and in their fight to protect the lives of so many animals who need a voice.

See Cases & Campaigns for more about the work ALDF does; there are also Action Alerts and Petitions you can sign to help animals.

If you would like to support ALDF’s work, please consider donating to their 2012 Annual Fund Drive.

Please also continue supporting Tony’s petition and sharing this beautiful tiger’s story.

From The Animal Legal Defense Fund:

A Truck Stop is No Home For a Tiger

Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF’s Executive Director on July 12th, 2012

Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger, paces on the hard concrete surface of his cage. He has spent every day and night of the last eleven years on display at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana – nearly his whole life. It’s no life for a tiger, or any other animal.

That’s why, despite all legal obstacles, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is tireless in our fight to make sure that Tony finds his way to a reputable, accredited sanctuary where he can live out his life in a nurturing environment, rather than one that exploits him as a profitable spectacle. Help us raise $250,000 during our 2012 Annual Fund Drive and join our fight to free Tony!

ALDF is currently involved in three separate lawsuits concerning Tony – a no holds barred effort to free him from the miserable conditions he’s forced to endure day and night. ALDF’s victory last year against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries prevented the Department from renewing the annual permit that allowed Michael Sandlin, owner of Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop, to display Tony.

However, the Department has refused to seize Tony until Mr. Sandlin’s own lawsuit against the Department has resolved. Once Mr. Sandlin’s case is over, the Department should do its duty by acting quickly to ensure Tony’s removal to a humane sanctuary.

We are optimistic that we will prevail, and the court will uphold Louisiana’s right to protect public safety and animal welfare by prohibiting private possession of majestic animals like Tony.

Your support makes our fight for Tony possible! Join ALDF in fighting for Tony’s freedomfreedom from diesel fumes, harassment, and the unimaginable suffering of life in his lonely cage.

http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2103

Animal rights group to fight big cat lawsuit   Leave a comment

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

6:30 PM, May. 7, 2012

NEW ORLEANS (WTW) — An animal rights group can join a lawsuit and fight a challenge to a Louisiana law that bars private ownership of big cats, a state district judge ruled Monday.

Judge Janice Clark said the Animal Legal Defense Fund and two Louisiana residents can be parties to a challenge brought by Michael Sandlin, who has kept a tiger for decades at his Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete.

Sandlin contends the law is unconstitutional. He opposed allowing the ALDF and two others to become parties to the suit.

“Upholding Louisiana’s big cat ban will prevent untold harm in the future to other big cats like Tony, who deserve better than a sad life at a roadside truck stop,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of ALDF.

Sandlin’s attorney, Jennifer Treadway Morris, said she probably won’t appeal this ruling because it can be part of her appeal if Clark upholds the law.

Tony, a Bengal-Siberian mix, is the eighth tiger in 22 years at the truck stop. Sandlin and the truck stop company — Tony’s legal owner — argue that moving the tiger now would be cruel.

In November, state District Judge Mike Caldwell ordered the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the permit that let Tiger Truck Stop Inc. keep the tiger at the business.

He also prohibited a new permit, saying the agency had broken its own rule allowing only individuals to own tigers.

The department has appealed the November ruling.

http://www.thenorthwestern.com/usatoday/article/39220899?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cs

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