Court orders tiger from truck stop

Jill Dunn | November 03, 2011

Tony the Tiger at Louisiana truck stop. (Photo Kris Ewing)

Tony the Tiger must leave the Louisiana truck stop bearing his name after activists won an extensive legal battle for his removal Nov 2.

Judge Michael Caldwell of the East Baton Rouge District Court ruled in favor of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which began litigation in April against Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin.

State officials must revoke his permit to keep the Bengal-Siberian mix and are prohibited from issuing a new permit, the ALDF said. Last May, the district court granted its request for a permanent injunction against Louisiana renewing Sandlin’s permit.

But in August, a state appeals court ruled Sandlin and his business must be named as defendants in the lawsuit and ordered a new trial, vacating the trial court’s earlier decision.

Tony was a few months old in 2000, when Sandlin brought it to the truck stop located west of Baton Rouge. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission annually has renewed Sandlin’s permit after the truck stop owner was grandfathered in when the state began banning private ownership of big cats in 2006.

The truck stop has kept tigers for more than two decades and has posted statements on its website charging that activist have lied about Tony’s living conditions.

  • b Piel

    Here again we have people that have nothing better to do than but into someones else’s life and business! I wish I had so much time and money because i could sure find better things to do with it than trying to get people to live they way I think they should instead of they way they want to!

  • Dan Meginnis

    I just visited the tiger and the TS on Monday. I can’t understand what the judge wants when considering living conditions. Maybe Tony the Tiger needs a suite at the Ritz Carlton. I not sure that would satisfy the ALDF Goofs.

  • America a Free Country?

    If america is a free country why the HECK government decides everything in our life? if the guy is not obusing the Tiger and is safe, let it be there… AMERICA IS RUN BY GOVERNMENT NOT A FREE COUNTRY

  • Tigress62

    Mr. Sandlin never legally owned Tony per a 1993 Iberville Parish Ordinance and therefore should have never been grandfathered in under Louisiana Act 715 which prohibits the ownership and sale of large exotic cats, including tigers, in Louisiana, nor given a permit from The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to keep Tony.
    Tony has been exploited as a roadside attraction for over a decade in the unhealthy and inappropriate environment of a truck stop that is detrimental to him and/or any animal. An accredited big cat sanctuary can provide Tony with a natural spacious habitat, a suitable pool, proper diet, medical care and enrichment. Tony’s supporters are sincerely thankful for the tremendous dedication of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and their persistent efforts to help Tony receive the care and life he deserves at such a sanctuary.

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  • Kristi

    If one is doing no harm, then by all means, you are correct Piel. However, it’s clear here that Sandlin has been cruelly treating this poor tiger. He should not have even been in a cage in the first place.

    Not only that, but as the Parish Ordinance pointed out, he never really owned Tony to begin with. So the LDOWF had issued the permit illegally. I’m glad they’re fixing this mess up.

  • JackSprat

    Dan, where I come from, solitary confinement is punishment.

  • Leland

    Over the years I have been trucking,I have stopped at the Tiger Truck stop on numerous occasions.I have visited Tony each time.His “home”has always been clean and properly maintained.When Tony was first brought in all proper laws were followed.so how can you change horses in mid stream.This is what happens when judges make law from the bench instead of ruling on law as per the Constitution of these Great United States

  • Bonnie Robinson

    I have to agree that solitary confinement is a punishment, I have not seen where the tiger is housed but tend to agree a pool would be nice with other tigers. Would you like being in a cage? It is too bad that law must tell people how to treat animals

  • Thomas J. Roths

    Why can’t you jackoffs mind your own business. Let this man run his business as he see’s fit. The cat has been OK for over a decade just leave him alone.

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