Archive for the ‘Tony The Truck Stop Tiger’ Tag

Tony ~ Always : In Memoriam October 16, 2020   Leave a comment

Three years ago, on October 16, 2017, we lost our beloved Tony the Tiger. Not a day goes by where Tony is not on my mind; he has left his massive paw prints on my heart and on the hearts of his friends around the world. For 17 years Tony was confined to a “life” as a roadside attraction at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete. Louisiana, and because of Tony and his tragic story, people learned about the serious issue of privately owned tigers and big cats in the United States.

For many years Tony had tremendous support for his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary. The legal battle for Tony’s release was led by our very good friends The Animal Legal Defense Fund who fought tirelessly for Tony. Sadly every court win in Tony’s favor for his release was met by his owner’s appeals and the case dragged on for years. I would like to once again thank The Animal Legal Defense Fund who never gave up on Tony, and who continue to advocate for captive tigers and wild animals. Learn more about ALDF’s work for captive wild animals at : https://aldf.org/focus-area/captive-animals/

Another round of thanks to these sanctuaries who offered a home for Tony, Big Cat Rescue (Tampa FL), The Wildcat Sanctuary (Sandstone MN) and The Wild Animal Sanctuary (Keenesburg CO).

One of the best ways we can honor Tony is to support The Big Cat Public Safety Act. This federal bill addresses two of the biggest sources of abuse of big cats by ending owning big cats as pets and stopping exploitative roadside zoos from offering cub petting and photo ops. Read more about this bill and ask your Congress Members for their support at : https://aldf.org/article/add-your-voice-support-the-big-cat-public-safety-act/

In Tony’s memory, all of his social media accounts remain open to network information on ways we can help animals. We hope you will continue to support them.

To ALL of Tony’s amazing friends : THANK YOU! Because of you and your support Tony will never ever be forgotten.

” T ” : I miss you handsome tiger. You are in my thoughts every day and in my heart always.

For ” T ” Always ~ #FreeTonyTiger #TonyAlways 🌈 🐯 🌈

Tony’s Photo A Winner in Tigers In America Photo Contest!   Leave a comment

CLICK TO SEE FACEBOOK POST BY TIGERS OF AMERICA ABOUT TONY’S PHOTO

I am truly honored to have this photo of Tony chosen as one of the winners in Tigers in America’s Photo Contest. I’ve always loved this photo (be it sad) because it truly captures such despondence in Tony’s eyes and soul. Tony was born in 2000, obtained as a cub and spent all of his 17 years caged at Tiger Truck Stop.Tony raised tremendous awareness to the plight of captive tigers in the United States; he had friends and supporters from all over the world who advocated for his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary, wonderful sanctuaries who offered him a home and his legal champions, Animal Legal Defense Fund who never stopped fighting for his release. Tony truly was, and always will be, “The Captive Tiger Ambassador.” Visiting Tony at the truck stop was bittersweet, but when I would leave, I always told him we’d never give up and we’d never stop roaring. In his honor and remembrance, all of Tony’s social media accounts remain active to help network actions to help captive tigers and big cats. Thank you all for remembering this very special tiger. RUN FREE ” T ” | #FreeTonyTiger #TonyAlways (Free Tony The Tiger ~ D.M. De Santis)
🌈🐯🌈

Infamous Tiger Truck Stop Demolishes Cage That Held Tony the Tiger   Leave a comment

Challenge to the constitutionality of Louisiana’s big cat ban still in court

Courtesy of : Animal Legal Defense Fund

New Orleans, LA – After multiple lawsuits filed and fought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Tiger Truck Stop has finally stopped exhibiting animals and tore down its cages. The animals who had recently lived at the gas station have been removed, and the chain-link cages have been demolished.

The Tiger Truck Stop, the infamous gas station in Gross Tete, Louisiana, held Tony — an endangered Siberian-Bengal tiger — from the age of 6-months until his death at the age of 17 in 2017. The center of significant controversy, the truck stop’s owner, Michael Sandlin, used his political clout to circumvent one law after another — including the Louisiana big cat ban which passed unanimously in 2006. A lawsuit filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund stripped the Tiger Truck Stop of its improper permit from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries — a decision that was affirmed on appeal.

In his zeal to continue to exhibit tigers at the gas station, Sandlin sued Louisiana over the constitutionality of the state’s big cat ban. The lawsuit, which the Animal Legal Defense Fund successfully intervened in to assist in protecting the ban, remains pending for now.

“The Animal Legal Defense Fund is pleased that no additional animals will be exploited at the Tiger Truck Stop,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Though we were not able to rescue Tony in time, we have continued to fight in his memory for other captive animals who suffer at roadside zoos across the country.”

After Tony died, Sandlin acquired other animals, including a camel, a red kangaroo, and coatis — which have been relocated.

In 2019, the Animal Legal Defense Fund won a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its policy of “rubberstamping” exhibitor license renewals of roadside zoos, even when they violated the Animal Welfare Act. In 2020, the USDA released new rules stating that facilities would need to prove they are in compliance with federal, state, and local laws for renewal — another tool that will help prevent similar situations in the future and part of the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s continuing strategy to shut down roadside zoos.

A federal bill, the Big Cat Public Safety Act, has been introduced with wide support in the U.S. House of Representatives, and would eliminate private big cat ownership nationwide. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, along with a coalition of animal protection groups, supports the bill’s passage.

 

Tribute to My Little Tiger Tony   Leave a comment

Tony Cat supporting ALDF’s #TinyTigers4Tony Campaign

Apologies for the absence…recently I lost my own “little tiger” ~ my beautiful cat coincidentally named Tony. Back in 2008 a very good friend found Tony Cat’s adoption article in a local newspaper, (he was already named Tony by the shelter.) I read Tony’s story and once again felt fate brought me a very special boy. I adopted Tony Cat on September 3, 2008 and we shared almost 10 years together. I was truly blessed to know and share a life with this kind gentle soul. I like to believe my Tony Cat is with his “big cousin,” our beloved Tony the Tiger.

There is not a day that goes by where I don’t think of Tony the Tiger…I love this tiger and I’m so thankful I got to visit him and tell him how much he was loved by his friends and how hard we were all trying to help him. What a beautiful, majestic boy. Tony truly was and always will be the ambassador for captive tigers – he was known world-wide, and raised tremendous awareness to the issue. I’m sorry Tony never got a wonderful sanctuary home.

If you haven’t done so, please sign Animal Legal Defense Fund‘s petition to Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin at: https://act.aldf.org/page/6167/petition/1

If you ever visited Tony and have pictures you’d like to share please e-mail freetonythetiger17@gmail.com

One again thank you for your support and understanding.

Camel now at famed truck stop outside Baton Rouge, but owner in fierce fight for another tiger   Leave a comment

From Animal Legal Defense Fund:

“No wild animal deserves to follow in (Tony’s) steps. An environment like a truck stop with loud noises and gas fumes completely fails to meet any wild animal’s mental and physical needs” – Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells

Our legal battle to prevent the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop from obtaining another tiger continues. In the meantime, we are closely monitoring any developments at the Louisiana truck stop.

To read more about our work to uphold Louisiana’s Big Cat Ban, head to: https://aldf.org/case/upholding-lousianas-big-cat-ban/

Direct Link to Following Article: https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/article_d1c42178-8d1c-11e8-b617-7f0c185d8cfe.html

Camel now at famed truck stop outside Baton Rouge, but owner in fierce fight for another tiger
BY LEA SKENE | lskene@theadvocate.com

Caspar the camel has taken the place of Tony the tiger — for now.

With state laws preventing him from obtaining another exotic cat after Tony’s death in October, the owner of a landmark Iberville Parish truck stop says he intends to continue fighting for what he considers the tiger’s rightful successor. Animal rights groups have expressed adamant opposition, and the conflict is playing out in court.

In the meantime, Michael Sandlin has settled for Caspar, who was moved into Tony’s old enclosure earlier this week. Sandlin said the camel is five months old but is nonetheless large because “they grow up fast.”

The camel came with another baby exotic animal: a coati, which is a member of the raccoon family native to South and Central America. His name is Cody and he’s two months old.

Sandlin said he might bring in more animals in the coming months as he is considering expanding his facilities and creating a petting zoo attraction for children, starting with “Caspar the friendly white camel.”

A 2006 state law bans private ownership of large and exotic cats but Tony was grandfathered in because he had been living at the truck stop since 2001.

In addition to giving people more reason to visit the truck stop, Sandlin said, the new animals at his site send a message to the groups that he believes have unfairly targeted him with false accusations surrounding the living conditions of his tiger exhibit, which opened in 1984.

“I think this shows that we’re not quitters and that we don’t just let the state or anyone else come in and run over us,” Sandlin said. “I hate to see that exhibit sitting empty when there could be something there for people to enjoy. … I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world — seeing the excitement on children’s faces when they get up close and personal with these animals.”

But the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a national organization that has taken the lead in legal opposition to Sandlin’s tiger exhibit, said replacing one animal with another doesn’t solve the problem.

“No wild animal deserves to follow in (Tony’s) steps,” Executive Director Stephen Wells said in a statement on Saturday. “Wild animals do not belong in captivity. An environment like a truck stop with loud noises and gas fumes completely fails to meet any wild animal’s mental and physical needs.”

Tony was euthanized in October at age 17 after experiencing kidney failure. He had moved to the truck stop when he was six months old and spent the rest of his life there. Tigers typically live between 14 and 18 years in captivity.

Sandlin spoke heatedly in an interview Saturday and firmly disputed the claims that Tony experienced a poor quality of life because of where he lived.

“Are we going to start taking people’s children away if they don’t live in a mansion?” he said, acknowledging the differences between Tony’s enclosure and LSU’s tiger habitat while challenging the idea that one is humane and the other isn’t.

Sandlin said the advocates fighting him in court are taking their arguments too far without reasonable consideration of the animals they purport to defend — arguments that members of the public and state legislators have taken to heart.

“I resent living in this state that turns small business owners into criminals overnight and tries to take their personal property without compensation,” he said. “I feel it’s tyrannical and hypocritical, and I resent that.”

A state judge is set to rule in coming months on the legality of Louisiana’s big cat ban in response to a lawsuit from Sandlin, which holds that the ban is unconstitutional. Attorneys for the state and the Animal Legal Defense Fund maintain it’s legal. The 2006 law forbids anyone other than colleges, sanctuaries, zoos, wildlife research centers and scientific organizations from possessing big exotic cats.

At a hearing in April, Sandlin’s attorneys argued that Sandlin is “the true sanctuary” because “it’s not for economic reasons at all. He has a true love for these animals.”

That case is the latest of several over the past decade as animal rights groups sought to get Tony removed from the truck stop because they believed he wasn’t receiving adequate care.

Sandlin is hopeful the judge will rule in his favor. But he is also willing to branch out with other animals in the meantime, in part to maintain his license that allows him to keep exotic animals of any kind.

Sandlin said Caspar is a name of Persian origin that means “keeper of the treasure” — which he said could refer to the camel’s role in holding down the tiger enclosure until the business is graced with another striped predator.

“There was a lot of love and community here and I find it’s tragic that for the first time in 30 years, there’s not tiger living in Grosse Tete. But I have not given up and I’m hoping that this situation will be corrected,” Sandlin said. “It’s still Tiger Truck Stop, not camel truck stop.”

More Links:

Baton Rouge judge to rule on state’s big cat ban as Grosse Tete truck stop pushes for new tiger

Truck stop owner plans to pursue another tiger, stuff Tony for display; critic calls that ‘disrespectful’

Tony, the Grosse Tete truck stop tiger, euthanized after spending 17 years as roadside attraction

Are big cats ‘individuals’? Animal rights group fighting for records in truck stop tiger case

Tony the Tiger Case Update from ALDF : July 18, 2018   Leave a comment

From FTTT:
We will always be thankful for Animal Legal Defense Fund‘s dedication to Tony and for their relentless efforts in trying to secure his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary. Thank you ALDF for continuing to honor Tony by fighting on in his memory to ensure no other tigers are subjected to being a roadside attraction at Tiger Truck Stop. You will always have the support of Tony’s friends.

Repost from ALDF:
Like many of you, we are still mourning Tony’s passing last October. Tony was a Siberian-Bengal tiger held captive in the Tiger Truck Stop parking lot in Grosse Tete, Louisiana for years. Despite his tragic death, the Animal Legal Defense Fund continues to fight on in his memory.

Today we filed an appeal of a decision that mistakenly found that Tony could not be considered an “individual” under the Freedom of Information Act. We are challenging the decision in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to ensure that animals like Tony will be protected by the Freedom of Information Act and people have speedy access to crucial information when an animal’s safety is in jeopardy.

For more information about the lawsuit, visit https://aldf.org/article/animal-legal-defense-fund-sues-usda-for-denying-tony-the-tiger-is-an-individual-protected-by-foia/

Urgent Action via The Animal Legal Defense Fund!   Leave a comment

Animal Legal Defense Fund - Action Alert

Tony, a majestic Siberian-Bengal tiger, spent 17 years in a cage as a roadside attraction in the parking lot of a Louisiana gas station called the Tiger Truck Stop.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed multiple lawsuits in an effort to get Tony moved to a sanctuary. But Tony died while still trapped at the Tiger Truck Stop before these cases were resolved.

Michael Sandlin, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, has made a business of exploiting tigers like Tony for decades. He was cited for violating the Animal Welfare Act by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) repeatedly — and was forced to give up all of the tigers in his custody except one: Tony. We hoped Tony would be the last — but Sandlin is attempting to obtain more tigers — and we need your help to stop him.

Please sign our petition now demanding that Michael Sandlin give up his efforts to obtain another tiger.

https://act.aldf.org/page/6167/petition

A truck stop is no place for a tiger. In the wild, these animals range over hundreds of miles, living in a diverse range of habitats that include grasslands and tropical forests. And though most can’t be returned to the wild after captivity, they deserve to live in sanctuaries that provide extensive space, a natural setting, and the enrichment they need to stay healthy.

Sign our Petition

It is clear that the Tiger Truck Stop cannot provide an adequate home for a tiger. Don’t let another tiger suffer like Tony did. Can I count on you to add your voice to this important fight?

Sign our petition today and tell Sandlin that a truck stop is no place for a tiger!

https://act.aldf.org/page/6167/petition

“I Am NOT Property!”   Leave a comment

We’re supporting our very good friends Animal Legal Defense Fund and their “I Am Not Property” Campaign.

Visit aldf.org/iamnotproperty for more info and to join.

Tony’s captor, Michael Sandlin, considered Tony his property.

Michael Sandlin: “They tried to take Tony away from me without compensation…that’s that’s property rights, I mean you know, he was my, he really was my legally obtained PROPERTY.”

WATCH the video below:

Help Big Cats Like Tony, Who Died After a Miserable Life at a Gas Station   Leave a comment

Tony the tiger was forced to spend his life in a chain-link cage at a Louisiana gas station, until he was recently euthanized because of his failing health. He was 17 years old and had spent nearly his entire life imprisoned at the truck stop. It’s too late for Tony, but it’s not too late to help other big cats who are languishing in private homes across the U.S.

Tony the tiger in cage

© Big Cat Rescue

In nature, big cats often have home ranges of hundreds of miles, where they have the opportunity to roam, swim, climb, hunt, choose their mates, and raise their young. But in private homes, they suffer in cramped cages and barren enclosures, where they’re denied everything that’s natural and important to them. Wild animals belong in the wild, and when these dangerous apex predators are confined to private homes, the consequences can be fatal, and there have been hundreds of dangerous incidents in the U.S. since 1990.

To help end the private breeding and possession of tigers and other big cats, please use the form at: https://support.peta.org/page/3654/action/1 to let your members of Congress know that you support the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 1818), which would bring an end to private ownership of dangerous wild cats, safeguarding both wild animals and communities across the U.S. You can check to see if your representatives are already cosponsors of this bill by clicking here. Please feel free to customize the letter, thanking them if they’re already cosponsors or asking them to sponsor it if they aren’t.

Tiger Forced to Live at a Gas Station Dies   Leave a comment

Written by Michelle Kretzer | October 17, 2017
https://www.peta.org/blog/tiger-forced-to-live-at-a-gas-station-dies/

Tony, the tiger who was forced to spend his life in a chain-link cage at a Louisiana gas station, has been euthanized because of his failing health. The Tiger Truck Stop’s “publicist,” Ted Baldwin, told news outlets that Tony’s health was declining and that he was in kidney failure. He was 17 years old and had spent nearly his entire life imprisoned at the truck stop.

tony the tiger, tiger truck stop, michael sandlin, euthanized

© Big Cat Rescue

PETA, our friends at the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), and countless other animal advocates had been working to get him moved to a sanctuary for years. PETA lodged stacks of complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, repeatedly offered to cover all costs of sending Tony to a reputable sanctuary, and stood behind the ALDF’s lawsuits in the tiger’s behalf. Even though Louisiana lawmakers passed a law restricting the ownership of exotic big cats, they included an amendment allowing Tony to be exempted.

You can see the conditions he was forced to live in in this video made by our friends at the Big Cat Rescue sanctuary in Tampa:


(Note: video from 2010)

The gas station’s owner, Michael Sandlin, said that he plans to have Tony “stuffed, mounted and displayed.” He said that he also plans to purchase another tiger, though he wouldn’t legally be allowed to do so. He insists that he’ll file an “emergency writ” demanding another tiger, apparently believing that the gas station’s name necessitates the unlawful and abusive confinement of animals.

Sandlin is seemingly unfamiliar with Caterpillar equipment, the country Turkey, Greyhound buses, Fox Sports, Grey Goose Vodka, the Polar Bear Plunge, and most professional sports teams, none of which use live animals for promotional purposes.

The state would have to pass a new law in order for Sandlin to get another tiger, which is unlikely to happen. And PETA will fight vigorously to ensure that he’ll never get his hands on another tiger to imprison and torment in order to sell gasoline.

tony the tiger, michael sandlin, tiger truck stop, euthanized

© Big Cat Rescue

Tony’s abuse shows the extent of some humans’ sense of entitlement to other animals—who are as capable of suffering as we are—as well as the inadequacy of our institutions to protect them. You can help protect tigers and other big cats from exploitation by people such as Sandlin by urging your representatives to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which would end private ownership of exotic cats, safeguarding communities from potential escapes and attacks and protecting wild animals from neglect and cruelty.

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