Archive for the ‘Zanesville’ Tag

Senate Bill Introduced for Big Cats & Public Safety Protection Act!   2 comments

Please reacaptived this press release from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and take action at the two links below:

Tell Congress to protect people and big cats! HR 1998

Tell the Senate to protect people and big cats! S 1381

IFAW Gains Senate Support for the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) today introduced (S.1381) the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act. Initiated by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and supported by a coalition of animal welfare groups, the bill aims at banning private possession and breeding of tigers, lions, and other captive big cats in the United States. The House version of the bill (H.R. 1998) was introduced earlier this year by U.S. Representatives Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA).

Current state laws addressing keeping big cats as pets widely fluctuate, with some states banning the practice while exempting a host of USDA exhibitors, and others with partial to no restrictions at all. The bill would establish a single, nationwide policy against the captive big cat pet and roadside zoo trade, while requiring current owners to register their big cats.

“The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act is a common-sense solution to a situation that has spiraled out of control,” Senator Blumenthal said. “Thousands of dangerous big cats are kept in deplorable conditions as backyard pets and in roadside zoos across the nation. This bill would alleviate the threat these animals pose to the general public.”

Congress first introduced the bill in light of the tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio and many others preceding it. In Zanesville, an exotic animal owner released 38 big cats and 18 other dangerous animals and then took his own life. To protect the surrounding community, first responders, who were neither trained nor properly equipped to handle a situation of that magnitude, were forced to shoot and kill nearly all of the animals.

IFAW Campaigns Officer Tracy Coppola notes, “Apart from the serious animal welfare aspects of this issue, we must not forget that it poses a massive burden on the first responders who often find themselves at the forefront of dealing with the dangers that captive big cats pose when kept in private hands across America.”

IFAW’s big cats database ( shows that since 1997, incidents involving these captive animals have resulted in 22 human deaths, including five children. Meanwhile, over 200 people have been mauled or injured and scores of big cats have been killed

In addition to the human and animal fatalities, private ownership and breeding of big cats also undermines wildlife conservation because it can contribute to illegal international wildlife trade. There is currently no way to know how many U.S.-born big cats are disposed of or when their parts are illegally sold into the black market.

The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act now heads to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. IFAW is calling on citizens, including all first responders, to urge their Senators to co-sponsor the bill today.

More information is available at

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats.

Follow IFAW on Facebook and Twitter

From ALDF: Tony, the Truck Stop Tiger 11.29.2012   Leave a comment

tony 01The Truck Stops Here…

From the stench of fuel to the drone of diesel engines and the isolation of his roadside prison, Tony, a 12 year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, has endured more than a decade of misery at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. That is why the Animal Legal Defense Fund has taken to the Louisiana courts to free Tony the Tiger from this truck stop nightmare. We won our lawsuit to prevent Tony’s “owner” Michael Sandlin from renewing his permit, but Sandlin appealed, and we are waiting for the Louisiana Court of Appeal to hear the case. Sandlin subsequently filed his own lawsuit to overturn the state’s ban on big cat ownership. ALDF sought to have the case dismissed and is waiting for the trial court to decide if the suit will move forward.

Sandlin has exploited tigers for over 20 years: buying, breeding, selling, and exhibiting tigers in poor conditions for his own profit. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Sandlin’s truck stop in the past for unsanitary feeding practices; mishandling tigers; and failure to provide veterinary care, shelter from inclement weather, clean drinking water, and knowledgeable employees to care for the tigers. In 2003, Sandlin’s animal welfare violations sparked public outcry, and three tigers were removed to a Tennessee sanctuary. The USDA allowed Sandlin to keep one tiger: Tony. He has been alone ever since.tony 02

Life at the truck stop is harmful to an animal with such sensitive hearing and acute sense of smell, says veterinarian Jennifer Conrad, who has cared for captive large cats for nearly two decades. After visiting Tony, she declared he is “in poor condition and needs intervention on his behalf.” In addition to exposure to noise and diesel fumes, Tony is taunted by truck stop visitors. His enclosure lacks adequate enrichment. He has no pool of water to cool off in the blazing heat of the summer. As a result of this stressful confinement, Tony constantly paces in his enclosure, putting him at risk for dangerous and painful veterinary conditions.

His suffering demonstrates the problem of privately-owned tigers, whose numbers exceed that of wild tigers. There are less than 500 Siberian and only 2,500 Bengal tigers left in the wild. In their natural habitat, tigers live alone, travel many miles to hunt, and avoid humans.

ALDF Sues to Have Tony Freed

In 2010, ALDF sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for unlawfully issuing Sandlin a permit to keep and exhibit Tony. ALDF was joined by several Louisiana residents as co-plaintiffs, including Warren Triche, the state representative who authored the Louisiana state law banning private ownership of tigers. In November 2011, Judge Michael Caldwell ordered LDWF to revoke Sandlin’s permit and prohibited the agency from issuing future permits. Sandlin appealed this decision to the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the First Circuit. We have briefed the case and are awaiting an oral argument date. Once the court hears our arguments, we will await a final decision. Meanwhile, Sandlin continues to exhibit Tony without a permit.

LDWF publicly stated it intends to enforce Louisiana law when litigation has concluded—although they could seize Tony now, at their discretion. State law bars Sandlin from owning and exhibiting a tiger because he did not legally own Tony when Louisiana’s big cat ban went into effect, and because Sandlin does not live on the premises where Tony is held captive. After all, who would want to live in a truck stop? Not Sandlin… and definitely not Tony.

ALDF Intervenes to Defend Big Cat Law

After losing his permit, Sandlin filed his own lawsuit against the State of Louisiana, the LDWF, and Iberville Parish to overturn the state ban on private possession of big cats. This suit flies in the face of national sentiment, public safety, and animal welfare concerns. After the massacre of 48 exotic animals in Ohio in 2011, state and federal bills (like HR 4122) are being considered to prohibit ownership of big cats. Although ALDF was not named as a defendant in Sandlin’s suit, we successfully petitioned the court to allow us to intervene in the case to support Louisiana’s right to safeguard public safety and the welfare of animals like Tony. LDWF and ALDF each filed exceptions to Sandlin’s case, seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed, and a decision is expected soon.

Next Steps: We Wait While Tony Paces

The world waits with bated breath for the results of ALDF’s suit and of Sandlin’s appeal. Meanwhile Tony remains trapped at the truck stop. ALDF’s legal battle for Tony has drawn support from high profile advocates like Leonardo DiCaprio and True Blood’s Kristin Bauer van Straten and has galvanized activists around the world. The law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. is providing pro bono assistance.

We are currently waiting for the Louisiana Court of Appeal to hear our case. We are also waiting for the trial court to decide if Sandlin’s suit will move forward. Tony’s fate is tied up in the courts, but ALDF is keeping the pressure on.

We will post updates on Tony’s case as they become available.

NOTE: Article courtesy of  Animal Legal Defense Fund. You can leave a comment of thanks to ALDF and support for Tony at the end of this article here: on ALDF’s Facebook page: and retweet on Twitter:

Let’s continue our positive dedicated advocacy on behalf of Tony. Thank you.

ALDF: Strengthen Federal Law to Protect Big Cats   Leave a comment

Click the tiger’s picture to help big cats like Tony!

Please take action for big cats via this alert from The Animal Legal Defense Fund.


Many big cats such as Tony the truck stop tiger languish in deplorable conditions with no hope of freedom. Join us in urging Congressional representatives to support a new law to protect big cats from a similar fate.

Protect big cats and public safety!

In October 2011, sheriff’s deputies in Zanesville, Ohio responded to calls about a loose African lion and bear sighted by neighbors of an exotic animal “farm.” Officers soon discovered that the farm’s owner, Terry Thompson, had intentionally released over 50 exotic animals from his farm and then committed suicide. In the name of public safety, the deputies tracked down and shot the released animals. At the conclusion of the massacre, the pile of carcasses included 18 tigers, 17 African lions, and three mountain lions, as well as bears, wolves, and a baboon. Thompson had previous convictions for cruelty to animals and possession of illegal firearms.

This tragedy highlights the critical need for laws to prohibit possession of wild and exotic animals as “pets.” Among the problems caused by the wild animal trade:

  • In the U.S., an estimated 10,000 – 20,000 big cats are currently in private hands, causing significant public safety concerns by endangering neighbors — including children and pets — as well as officers who act as first responders.
  • The animals are frequently victims of neglect, living in deplorable conditions. Additionally, some captors might use the animals for illegal international trade in their parts.
  • Taxpayers and local agencies bear a high financial burden when dangerous animals escape or when they are seized due to cruelty and neglect.

The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R. 4122) would help stem the exotic “pet” trade by strengthening provisions in federal law by prohibiting future breeding, possessing, or owning of lions, tigers, and other big cats. The bill also would require people who currently possess big cats to register those animals with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This bill amends the Lacey Act, which already provides exemptions for government agencies and wildlife sanctuaries. H.R. 4122 adds an exemption for accredited zoos, too.

Take Action!

Urge your Congressional representative to support the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act to protect people and animals by completing the information to the right! H.R. 4122 has bipartisan support, but it is languishing in a subcommittee of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Please take action today!


From IFAW: The Sad Tale of Tony the “Truck Stop Tiger”   Leave a comment

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

By Jeffrey Flocken

Posted Mon, 05/14/2012

Here’s a report from Gina Miller, IFAW’s legal policy analyst, about a captive tiger in Louisiana:

Laws that govern the private ownership of big cats vary widely from one state to another but they do have one thing in common—they’re not enough to protect big cats in private hands. Some 10,000 to 20,000 big cats are kept captive by private owners in the U.S., and they aren’t in zoos but in backyards, basements, garages, sheds and even truck stops.

Yes, you read that correctly: It is legal to keep a tiger at a truck stop.

Tony, a 10 year old Siberian-Bengal tiger, has been kept every single day of his life at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. Living at a truck stop is no life for a tiger; Tony is subjected to noise and diesel fumes from trucks and kept in a concrete cage with no adequate enrichment or escape from the elements, resulting in constant stress. Ten years of living at Tiger Truck Stop have taken a toll on Tony’s health, according to experts.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham granted a permit allowing for Tony the tiger to be exhibited at the truck stop in Louisiana. After the state permit was issued, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit arguing that LDWF violated state legislation prohibiting persons from keeping a tiger as a pet or exhibiting a tiger within the state, but those that owned big cats legally before this law was passed were able to keep their animals.

Here’s the issue: Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, didn’t legally own him because his town’s ordinance made it illegal to keep a tiger on his premises.

The good news is that Tony’s permit expired in December of 2011 and hasn’t been renewed. The bad news is Tony is still being kept at the truck stop in violation of Louisiana law because the judge ruled that the Department has discretion whether or not to enforce Louisiana’s law on big cats. This “discretion” is allowing Tony the tiger to languish at a truck stop.

But Tony will have another day in court. Tony’s owner sued the State of Louisiana claiming that the law against private ownership of big cats was unconstitutional. Advocates for Tony’s health and safety will have the chance to support Louisiana’s authority to protect the public and the welfare of animals like Tony.

There is no reason that Tony or big cats like him should be left to suffer at truck stops due to squabbles over state laws and poor enforcement. As evidenced by Tony’s plight and the tragic Zanesville massacre, a nationwide solution like the Federal Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, H.R. 4122, is needed. Please urge your U.S. Representative to support the passage H.R. 4122 and protect tigers like Tony!

More from The Animal Legal Defense Fund on the May 7, 2012 Hearing   Leave a comment

From The Animal Legal Defense Fund:

May 7, 2012: In today’s hearing in Baton Rouge, District Judge Janice Clark agreed that the Animal Legal Defense Fund and two Louisiana residents can be parties to the lawsuit filed by Michael Sandlin, owner of Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop, against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). ALDF and the other interveners seek to defend the state’s law banning private ownership of big cats. Thanks to today’s ruling, ALDF will now have a right to participate in all steps of the litigation as it moves forward.

In their case, Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are suing the state, arguing that Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of big cats like Tony is unconstitutional—flying in the face of the current national sentiment that dangerous exotic animals should be more strictly regulated. Ohio is currently considering a bill that would ban new ownership of captive wild animals, following the massacre of 48 animals including lions, tigers, and bears, who were released by their Zanesville owner last October. Additionally, in February, a bipartisan bill—the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act”—was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would prohibit the breeding and private possession of captive big cats. ALDF’s intervention in Sandlin’s case will support Louisiana’s power to safeguard public safety and the welfare of animals like Tony through such legislative measures.


Please continue to support Tony by signing and sharing his petitions:

  • Petition For Tony  – January 16, 2012

  • Care2 Petition For Tony Is Still Open (Over 50,000 Signatures) 

ALDF Back in Court Demanding State Take Action on Tony the Truck Stop Tiger, Now Exhibited Without a Permit   Leave a comment

From The Animal Legal Defense Fund:

April 5th, 2012

After Baton Rouge Court’s Ruling Revoking Invalid Permit, ALDF Files Lawsuit Demanding Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Put an End to Owner’s Illegal Possession of the Big Cat

For immediate release

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

Baton Rouge, La. – This morning, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit to force the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to do its job of enforcing Louisiana’s big cat ban in the case of Tony, Grosse Tete’s “truck stop tiger.” Michael Sandlin’s permit to keep Tony, an eleven-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, expired in December, yet he has continued to keep Tony confined at the Tiger Truck Stop, in open violation of state law. ALDF’s lawsuit would compel the Department to take steps to enforce the law and report Sandlin’s illegal possession of Tony to local law enforcement for prosecution. In addition, ALDF, along with two Louisiana residents, today filed a petition to intervene in Sandlin’s current lawsuit against the state; the interveners seek to defend the state’s law banning private ownership of big cats. The law offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. are providing pro bono assistance with the lawsuit and the petition to intervene.

In November 2011, the East Baton Rouge District Court granted ALDF’s request for a permanent injunction against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, ordering the Department to revoke the permit that allowed Sandlin to display Tony as a roadside exhibit at the truck stop where he has languished for over a decade. Despite the fact that Sandlin’s permit expired in December and cannot be renewed, he continues to display Tony, in violation of the big cat law, which the Department is responsible for enforcing.

“The state of Louisiana has explicit regulations designed to protect tigers like Tony, and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is required to enforce them” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The court has already granted Tony and ALDF a victory by ruling that Michael Sandlin’s permit to display Tony was illegal. Sandlin, now without a permit, cannot be allowed to continue to exploit this tiger with impunity.”

Meanwhile, Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are suing the state, arguing that Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of big cats like Tony is unconstitutional—flying in the face of the current national sentiment that dangerous exotic animals should be more strictly regulated. Ohio is currently considering a bill that would ban new ownership of captive wild animals, following the massacre of 48 animals including lions, tigers, and bears, who were released by their Zanesville owner last October. Additionally, in February, a bipartisan bill—the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act”—was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would prohibit the breeding and private possession of captive big cats. ALDF’s petition in intervention supports Louisiana’s power to safeguard public safety and animal welfare through such legislative measures.

FTTT Note: Please support Tony’s petition:

Ask Your Congressperson to Support H.R.4122 – The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act   Leave a comment

© Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources

Please ask your congressperson to support H.R.4122 – The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act would prohibit private possession of big cats except at highly-qualified facilities like accredited zoos where they can be properly cared for and safely managed. 

Enter your zip code at this link:  for a fast easy way to voice your support of this bill and ask your congressperson to co-sponsor it. Please share the link. Thank You.

WWF – Latest News – Taking Tigers Out of American Backyards
Mar 01, 2012

Did you know that there are more tigers in American backyards than there are in the wild around the world?

Estimated at perhaps 5,000 tigers, they are found in:

  • backyards
  • urban apartments
  • sideshows
  • truck stops
  • private breeding facilities

For the past four years, WWF and TRAFFIC have raised the alarm on the lack of captive tiger regulation. Thanks to the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act” introduced by Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) on February 29, 2012, the U.S. is now taking a step in the right direction.

“We welcome this important legislation because as the Zanesville incident showed, it’s critical for America to clear out captive big cats from our backyards,” says WWF’s Leigh Henry. “This is a matter not only of public safety, but also of preventing captive tigers from being fed into the massive illegal tiger trade driven by a booming black market for tiger products.”

If the bill passes, it will:

  • Prohibit private possession of big cats like tigers and lions except at highly-qualified facilities, like accredited zoos and sanctuaries, where they can be properly cared for and restrained.
  • Require any persons who currently possess big cats to register those animals with the USDA in order to keep the cats they currently own.
  • Outlaw the breeding of any big cat except at accredited zoos and research and educational institutions.

Violators could face stiff penalties including confiscation of animals, fines as much as $20,000 and up to five years in jail.

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is working on introducing a companion bill in the Senate.

Learn more
Watch a video to learn how captive tigers impact wild tigers
Is your toilet paper linked to tiger habitat destruction?

From The Animal Legal Defense Fund: What is Best for Tony the Tiger?   Leave a comment

FTTT Note:  Please leave a comment at the direct link of the article: to show your support of Tony’s relocation to an accredited big cat sanctuary, and also post a comment on ALDF’s Facebook post of the article:!/AnimalLegalDefenseFund It’s important to continue to show our concern and support for Tony. Thank You all again for caring about Tony and advocating on his behalf.


Posted by Joyce Tischler, ALDF’s Founder and General Counsel on November 7th, 2011

Tony is an 11-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger.

For most of his life, he has lived in a cage at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. He is a roadside attraction.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has sued to get Tony out of that cage. We hope that Tony can be sent to a sanctuary, where he can live out his life in a more natural environment. Last week, we won our lawsuit in the East Baton Rouge District Court. The judge ordered the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries not to renew the annual permit that allows the truck stop to keep him in that cage, and ordered the Department to revoke the current permit.

Michael Sandlin, owner of Tiger Truck Stop, thinks Tony should stay at the truck stop. He says that’s Tony’s home and that people like to come and see him.

Many Americans view wild animals as “specimens” to be kept in a jar and brought out for us to gaze upon. There is something inherently wrong with that assumption and, to the extent that we can get inside the mind of a wild Siberian tiger stuck in a cage in Louisiana, let’s look at this situation from the perspective of what’s best for Tony.

According to National Geographic, there are only about 400-500 Siberian tigers left in the wild. The species is critically endangered. Most of them are in the birch forests of eastern Russia. “Tigers live alone and aggressively scent-mark large territories to keep their rivals away. They are powerful hunters that travel many miles to find prey, such as elk and wild boar, on nocturnal hunts… Despite their fearsome reputation, most tigers avoid humans…”

This is worth repeating: in their natural habitat, tigers travel great distances to hunt and they avoid contact with human beings.

In contrast, let’s take a look at Tony’s environment.

You can see a video of Tony in his roadside cage:

Look closely at Tony. Do you notice the way he walks back and forth? That is called “stereotypic behavior,” repetitive or ritualistic movement, such as pacing or rocking. This is abnormal behavior; it is not the way Tony would act in his natural habitat and it is a sign that something is very wrong.

According to experts, “(p)ossible explanations…include that carnivore pacing represents frustrated escape attempts (to forage, range, reach a mate, or for any one of a host of reasons)” or because species that usually roam over a wide range of land have been “rendered more dysfunctional by captivity…” “Stereotypic Animal Behaviour – Fundamentals and Applications for Welfare” (2nd ed.) – eds. Georgia Mason and Jeff Rushen (CABI, 2006).

Tony is not a play-toy or a stuffed animal or large puppy hoping to get someone’s attention. He’s a tiger and he has been denied the basic right to be a tiger – a wild animal living and hunting according to his natural instincts in his native habitat. Can anyone seriously argue that a wild Siberian tiger wants to be spend his entire life stuck in a cage at a truck stop, inhaling gasoline fumes and having to be in close proximity to the human beings his instincts are telling him to run away from? Seriously?

And, while we’re on the subject, there are thousands of other wild animals exploited in this way all over the U.S. Once again, if you look closely, there are visible signs telling us why wild animals should not be in captivity: the recent incident in Ohio, where dozens of wild animals were let loose by their owner and slaughtered by local police; Tyke, the elephant who broke loose after years of performing tricks in the circus. Tyke killed one person, injured several others and was thereafter killed on the streets of Honolulu; Travis, the “pet” chimpanzee in Connecticut who attacked a woman and badly mutilated her face;  Tilikum, the captive orca (killer whale) at Orlando’s Sea World, who has killed three human beings so far. These are just a few of the incidents that serve as wake-up calls that wild animals have no place in captivity. Wild animals are being victimized every step of the way – by being removed from their native environments, by suffering in a life of captivity and, if they manage to escape, by being summarily killed.  

We want to do the right thing for Tony. He can no longer survive in the wild, but he can go to a reputable sanctuary and live his life with far more dignity and less stress. I urge public officials to stop ignoring the obvious and deal realistically with the problems caused by allowing individuals to keep wild animals in captivity: ban private ownership, sale, purchase, possession and custody of wild animals.

To find out what you can do to help Tony and others like him, visit:

Posted in ALDF Blog

Does a Tiger Belong at a Truck Stop? Judge Rules No   Leave a comment


Tony Stuck at Truck Stop Since 11-wk Old Cub

A Louisiana judge ruled this week that Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin’s 550-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger can no longer be kept at the truck stop in Gross Tete, Louisiana. Judge Michael Caldwell ruled that Sandlin’s current permit to keep the cat, issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife Fisheries, was illegally issued, must be revoked, and can’t be renewed.

VIDEO: Big Cats in the Backyard! All New season of Fatal Attractions begins Friday, Nov. 11 at 9 p.m.

The ruling by Judge Caldwell favors a motion set forth by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to force the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the permit that allows Sandlin to keep the tiger at the business. Since he was 11 weeks old, Tony has been a draw for gawking motorists who patronize the truck stop, buying food, gassing up and sticking around to get a picture with him.

[STORY: Why do people collect wild, dangerous animals and what laws are in place to control them? ]

Sandlin argues that moving Tony now would be cruel and indicates that the truck stop is neatly kept, flowers blooming outside, on a quiet road away from the interstate. Tony’s cage has a grassy area, a large water tank for Tony to swim in, hanging tire and other toys — even shade and an air-conditioned den. His 3,600-square-foot cage is surrounded by a 10-foot chain link fence topped with barbed wire, set back several feet.

[What’s the Deal: Why do people choose to have exotic pets?]

The ALDF contends it’s dangerous holding a big tiger at a business, recalling last month’s exotic wildlife tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio.

What Do You Think?

Tigers are kept as exotic pets in various parts of the nation. Some are well taken care of in beautiful sprawling sanctuaries, others not so much — as witnessed in Zanesville and other low-rent petting zoos dotting the interstates. Where should Tony go now?

More on exotic pets: Fatal Attractions: Watch Encounters With Big Cats | Quiz: Could You Own a Perilous Pet? | Read: Tigers, Bears Escape in Ohio | Fatal Attractions: NEW SEASON STARTS NOV. 11

Friday October 21: Last Day To Help Tigers Like Tony!!   1 comment

Tragedy in Zanesville Ohio

TODAY is the last day to submit comments to the USFWS stating you support the proposal to eliminate the exemption for “generic” tigers. This is such an important action to take for Tony and the estimated 5,000 to 10,000 tigers like him privately owned in the United States. { Re: Zanesville tragedy }

For more information see the post Help Protect Captive Tigers in the United States from The Animal Legal Defense Fund below.

Direct link to submit comments:!submitComment;D=FWS-R9-IA-2011-0027-14468  All you need to do is state ” I support the proposal to eliminate the exemption for “generic” tigers.”

Please Take Action For The Animals Killed in Zanesville Ohio

Ohio: It’s Time to Ban Dangerous Exotic Animals

Ohio Residents: Take Action After Exotic Animal Massacre

Gov. John Kasich: Ban the sale, ownership, and harboring of wild and exotic animals in Ohio

Continue to support Tony and The Animal Legal Defense by signing and sharing Tony’s petitions and keeping his story active. Visit: for petition links and more. Upcoming hearings for Tony are scheduled for November 2, 2011.

Thank you again for your support of Tony and all animals who deserve our respect, protection and advocacy.

From The Animal Legal Defense Fund:

Help Protect Captive Tigers in the U.S.

While the disturbing circumstances surrounding Tony the truck stop tiger have 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 October 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.

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