Archive for the ‘Tony’ Tag

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:

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.

Tiger Kept At Truck Stop For 17 Years Dies, But The Legal Battle Isn’t Over via Huffington Post   Leave a comment

By Hilary Hanson | The Huffington Post

The tiger at the center of a years-long legal battle between animal rights activists and a Louisiana truck stop owner has died, but the owner’s desire to get another tiger means the fight likely isn’t over.

Tony, better known as Tony the Truck Stop Tiger, was euthanized Monday at the age of 17 after suffering from kidney failure. Michael Sandlin, the owner of Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, acquired Tony when the big cat was 6 months old. He would spend the rest of his life living in an enclosure by the side of the highway.

Courtesy of ALDF
Tony behind the fencing of his truck stop enclosure.

 

“He was an old man,” Sandlin told The Advocate. “You wish they could live forever, but of course, I wouldn’t want him to suffer.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, an animal rights nonprofit, also expressed sadness over Tony’s death but for a different reason. The ALDF tried for more than seven years to get Tony moved to a wildlife sanctuary and said in a statement the group was “devastated” that Tony lived out his final days caged.

Sandlin also told The Advocate he plans to try to get a new tiger to live at the truck stop, which is heavily tiger-themed. The ALDF says its staff will do whatever it can to stop that from happening.

“We’re going to keep fighting and make sure there’s never another Tony,” ALDF attorney Anthony Eliseuson told HuffPost.

Sandlin, who did not respond to a request for comment from HuffPost, says Tony received exemplary care at the truck stop. He also argued that the tiger was attached to his human caretakers and was used to life at the truck stop. In Sandlin’s view, moving Tony to a sanctuary would have been cruel, since the truck stop was all the big cat had ever known.

But animal rights activists disagreed. At a sanctuary, they said, he would have significantly more space, access to a more natural environment and freedom from loud engines and noxious fumes.

The question of how Sandlin was able to keep Tony at the truck stop involves a long and complex legal history. In 2006, Louisiana put restrictions on private big cat ownership. In 2012, Eliseuson said, the ALDF won a judgment against Sandlin that invalidated his permit to own Tony. But in 2014, then-Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) signed a bill into law that exempted Sandlin from the big cat ban.

However, the 2014 law exempted Sandlin because it decreed that the ban didn’t apply to anyone who owned their animal prior to 2006. That means the exemption would apply only to Tony, not to tigers Sandlin might try to acquire now.

So how would Sandlin be able to legally get a new tiger? Eliseuson explained that around the time of the 2012 ruling, Sandlin also filed a lawsuit challenging the 2006 state ban on big cat ownership as “unconstitutional.” His argument was that the law is enforced unevenly and gives officials enforcing it too much power, The New York Times reported in 2013.

So far, that lawsuit hasn’t made much progress, according to Eliseuson. But if Sandlin were to win, it would make privately owning exotic big cats legal not only for himself but for anyone in Louisiana.

“If he were to ultimately be successful, he would invalidate the big cat ban,” Eliseuson said, adding that ALDF will continue to fight to uphold the constitutionality of the ban.

State regulations on owning exotic animals vary wildly, contributing to a situation in which conservationists estimate there are 5,000 to 10,000 captive tigers in the U.S., many in places like roadside zoos and private homes. In contrast, there are about 3,200 tigers in the wild worldwide.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tony-truck-stop-tiger-dead_us_59ea6835e4b0958c468217df?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004

 

The Animal Legal Defense Fund: Fighting On in Tony’s Memory   Leave a comment

Posted on October 18, 2017

During the last 48 hours since we learned of the death of Tony the tiger, everyone at the Animal Legal Defense Fund has been moved and comforted by the outpouring of love people have expressed for Tony. We fought multiple legal battles for over six years to free Tony and move him to a reputable sanctuary, and we still aren’t done. We have two Tony-related lawsuits that will continue in the wake of his passing and are seeking to learn more about how he died.

The first lawsuit seeks to uphold the constitutionality of the Louisiana Big Cat Ban, a 2006 law that prohibits the private possession of big cats. If successful, this lawsuit would ensure that Michael Sandlin, the owner of Tiger Truck Stop, cannot condemn another big cat to the kind of life Tony had. Sandlin is fighting hard to fill Tony’s truck stop parking lot cage with another tiger, and we will do everything we can to prevent that from happening.

The second lawsuit concerns the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) refusal to recognize Tony as an “individual.” In April, the Animal Legal Defense Fund requested that the USDA conduct an inspection of Tony after learning that his health was in decline. We submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the inspection report and requested expedited processing, which FOIA requires when delayed disclosure “could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual.” Our request for expedited processing was denied because the USDA asserted that Tony is not an “individual.” In July, we sued the USDA for failure to recognize Tony as an “individual.” A victory in this lawsuit would enable the public to quickly obtain crucial information essential to protecting an animal’s wellbeing.

In addition, in the wake of Tony’s death we have made a request under the Louisiana Public Records Act, for a copy of Tony’s necropsy (an examination to determine the cause of death or disease) performed by Louisiana State University, where Tony died. We will carefully review it to determine what caused the alleged renal failure that led to Tony’s tragic death, and ensure it was not the result of improper care or treatment.

It is a tragedy that our years of litigation could not free Tony before his death. As Tony aged and his health appeared to decline, we feared this would happen, but the Animal Legal Defense Fund does not give up. We join the many advocates across the world in remembering Tony this week, and we promise to keep you updated on our work on behalf Tony and other animals like him.

http://aldf.org/blog/fighting-tonys-memory/

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