Critics seek to move tiger from truck stop

Jill Dunn | December 03, 2010

Wildlife advocacy groups are urging Louisiana officials to oust the state’s last privately owned big cat from its Tiger Truck Stop home.

Tiger President Michael Sandlin’s permit to house the 10-year-old Bengal-Siberian mix at his Baton Rouge area truck stop expires Dec. 31, said Commissioner Bo Boehringer, of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission

A request for renewal has not yet been received. But if it and supporting documents are received, the commission makes an on-site visit. The applicant then is informed by letter of the commission’s decision, which, if approved, is good for one year,

The Wild Animal Sanctuary and other wildlife advocates have been petitioning Louisiana officials to remove the animal and publicized the board would meet in regular session Dec. 2. But permit decisions are not made at board meetings, Boehringer said.

Louisiana bans private ownership of big cats, except for four owners grandfathered in on Aug. 15, 2006.  But after the law was passed, only Sandlin remained as a big cat owner, he said.

The business’ website, www.tigertruckstop.com has posted statements disagreeing with charges made by wildlife protection groups that Tony’s living conditions are hazardous to him and a safety risk to the public.

  • Dee DeSantis

    The LDWF’s priorities must be Tony’s health, welfare and quality of life. One needn’t be a “tiger expert’ to realize a truck stop is a totally unhealthy and unsuitable environment for a tiger or any animal, as well as it being a threat to public safety. Accredited big cat sanctuaries are willing to provide Tony a permanent home with professional care, a natural habitat, medical care, a proper diet, enrichment and the respect he deserves. Tigers are not gimmicks, props or attractions. Tony is one of thousands of tigers in the United States exploited and abused in this way. People around the world have come to learn of Tony and support his relocation to a sanctuary. Over 13,000 have signed his petition on change.org, and a petition just started on Dec 1, 2010 by the WSPA has over 5,000 signatures already. Tony’s story has been featured on Issues With Jane Velez Mitchell, and major organizations such as Big Cat Rescue of Tampa FL and The Animal Legal Defense Fund support Tony’s relocation as well. Sec. Barham & LDWF: Please make a stand for Tony and all of these magnificent cats who need our help, respect, and protection by denying the renewal of this permit to Tiger Truck Stop and letting Tony live the rest of his years in peace.

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  • Valeria Baker

    I am begging all truck drivers to boycott this truck stop. No animal deserves to live like this, especially a member of an endangered species. Please help support the movement to have Tony retired to an accredited animal sanctuary where he can live out the rest of his life in peace.

    Videos of Tony:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo9dK2hSqyU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gc00OiNh5w

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIekXmlSP34

    This video made by some truckers shows how close Tony’s cage is to the parking lot, where he has to inhale diesel fumes 24 hours a day…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSOdLgkeIkc

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  • Thorsten Kassebeer

    Don´t stop and buy anything there! Boycott this Truck Stop untill Tony is free!!!

    Thorsten Kassebeer
    Germany

    Visit:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Truck-Stop-Boycott/124526357607493

  • Dawn Flann

    You have turned your backs on this Tiger for Ten Years now. It is time for you to do the right thing for this Animal. Your decisions have been influenced and decided by ” I’ll rub your back if you rub mine”. Not taking seriously the Welfare of this Tiger. You have let a Man Exhibit and Endangered Animal for Ten years?! Do you people not have an ounce of Compassion in you, that you think it is ok to belittle animals like this? Exotic Animals? People who think this is wrong, are not thinking this to merely prove a point or be heard just for the sake of. We have seen how Tony is looking worse and worse with each picture, each video. People have seen the terrible conditions in which Michael Sandlin has forced Tony to live in. We have seen Michael Sandlin’s idea of what kind of life a Caged Animal should have….for Ten years we have seen this! Why do you refuse to see this? Why do you continue to turn your heads? Does money talk that much there, that you are willing to let this Tiger rot there until he drops? Do you not see that you have removed almost totally that Tiger’s spirit? Do you think day in and day out he paces just for kicks???
    Louisiana for God Sakes…..you are Letting an Endangered Tiger slowly fade away in your state, at a Truckstop? When are you going to show the world and your people some sort of Heart?…or is that state of yours, that blind as you pretend to be…..

  • Vickie Merritt

    This tiger has a sanctuary waiting for him where he will finally have more natural surroundings and he will have a chance to be happy. Watching the video of him tells you that he needs the change so badly. Isn’t 10 years enough?

  • Kelli Polsinelli

    There are far to many people allowing this to drag on, so they can have their 15 minutes of fame. It seems to be easier to free a political prisoner, than one sad and lonely tiger. It’s time for all of these groups to get their head out of the mud and stop the ego crap!

  • eliza howard

    Tony has been exploited and living in horrid conditions for over 10 years. Mr. Sandlin says he loves Tony and Tony is part of his family? Gas fumes 24/7 not one full medical exam.No enrichment at all untill recent these of which were not bought by Sandlin.These were bought by people concerned that LOVE Tony.Tony is taunted by people that throw things at him all the time .At times he is locked
    in a portion of his “cell” with no water and he can not get to the toys though he desperatly wants them.This is not love this is a crime scene !!!!

  • Karen Deakins

    The owner of Tiger Truck Stop can refute charges of Tony’s living conditions being inhumane or detrimental all he wants, but commonsense says otherwise. The mere fact Tony’s habitat is close to interstate noise and the noise and fumes from the truckstop is inhumane. This magnificent animal deserves better. NO animal should be used as a roadside attraction, gimmick or as in Tony’s case, a living logo. Please join us in our fight to have this tiger removed to an accredited sanctuary where he will be in a natural habitat, well nourished and and furnished with the medical care and enrichment he so direly needs.

  • debradietrich

    Tony needs to moved away from that truckstop. I lived in truckstops for 10 years and hardly think that a truckstop enviroment is suitable for any animal. Many of them are not suitable for humans! BOYCOTT THE TIGER TRUCKSTOP UNTIL TONY IS FREE!!!!

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  • MyKinKStar

    Tony should have always been treated special, getting attention for being a wild creature on our earth, and honored like royalty. Instead he’s a roadshow novelty, with spotlights over head, with noise and fumes from traffic in the lot and from the interstate. He lives with the bare minimum as required by law. Just enough for the corrupt officials to ignore his needs and allow him to simply exist what is a wretched life. SHAME ON THEM ALL.

    Confined wild animals MUST have regular enrichment, to help their senses handle and endure the stress of their natural life being totally different and unnatural. Tony has NOTHING, so he paces endlessly on the concrete, with a blank stare. Going nowhere FAST.

    As the Year Of The Tiger ends, WE MUST pray for Tony, that 2011 will be his year to finally get to live! With peace and quiet; with bushes and trees; with fresh water for play and swimming; stars in the night sky; and watching the birds fly.

    Please let’s get Tony HOME for the first time in his life.

  • MyKinKStar

    Thank you for giving Tony attention, to help him get outta that place.

  • cornbread earl

    I say we fire up the grill and see how old tony tastes, white or dark meat boys…….

  • Tara Davison

    A really Big Thank you to all those wonderful truck drivers demanding Tony be removed from the Truck Stop. You have the commercial power to stop this terrible cruelty. Thank you

  • Gordon A

    Some of you so called pet experts are dangerous and about a smart as a box of rocks.
    You think that Tony the tiger is in bad health, in an unsafe environment and should be removed . OK lets say it is. Now where do you suppose he should go? To a zoo that will not give him the personal or one on one attention he has had for the last 10 or 12 years. This is no different than removing a child from it’s home because of a busy body neighbor that reads something from nothing and never had a child. It is life altering for the child. The same for the tiger. It can’t speak and tell you it is unhappy or stubbed it’s toe like a child so it is taken care of the best way it can be.
    This tiger gets regular vet visits, real food not the ground stuff your pets eat, and enjoys the attention. It is not alone, Tony has fresh air air , a nice cage of its own . Not like in a zoo or a carnival.
    I have seen dogs in trucks that are mistreated, not properly cared for and the diet is no better than mickey D’s 2 times a day.
    This truck stop is not hiding this tiger like many other people have done with their pets and mistreated them.
    This tiger is an icon, It is healthy. Let me ask you goodie two shoes a question. If this is so bad a situation for the tiger why has it taken over 10 years to get involved?
    Answer is simple. The situation is not bad nor dangerous for Tony the Tiger it is the idea of getting on some band wagon for certain individuals to be a prat of something no matter the pain or suffering or cost it causes someone else. They a re searching for their 15 minutes of fame at the expense of someone else. Namely, the owner of the truck stop the the tiger.. It is called in some circles, mob mentality. The writers of some anti Tony the tiger articles are only seeking attention and feel the need to do anything to get it at other people expense.. Unfortunately Tony happens to be the target now.
    I have a suggestion for you anti Tiger enthusiasts. Pay attention to your surroundings and go after the Drivers and dog owners that mistreat their animals.
    How about the drivers that have 100 lb Plus dogs in a 6X8 foot cab and only take them out for short walks to do their business and rush them back into the 6×8 cage again.. That is mistreatment of animals as a dog this size needs room to grow and stay active. Or the drivers that think using a stick to beat a dog to make it mind As I have seen.
    If Tony has been in this truck stop for over 10 years and only the last 2 or 3 this action to remove him has surfaced. Get over it and leave it alone. It has not been proven he is mistreated. It seems that because it paces in it’s cage is the big hue and cry to remove it. Let me tell you bone heads something. Go to the zoo and watch those tigers pace back and forth. Watch the bears and cougars, and other feline animals. They all pace and so do dogs if you took the time to pay attention to them.
    Try to remove them if it so important to you. Only so called tiger experts have stated this and they know nothing about tigers, or animals in fact.. The biggest non experts are the truckers and housewives that are bored to the point of stupidity that begin to think they are experts in tiger care and truck stop management and demand his removal while knowing absolutely nothing about the situation and refuse to listen to to both sides of the problem.
    It is time to give it a rest. Leave Tony Alone.

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