La. truck stop loses bid to keep Tony the Tiger as Supreme Court rejects case

| October 15, 2013
Tony the Tiger, in his cage at the Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete, La. | Photo from

Tony the Tiger, in his cage at the Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete, La. | Photo from

The long legal saga of a Louisiana truck stop owner’s attempt to keep a Siberian Bengal tiger in a cage at his truck stop may have come to an end this month, as the state’s Supreme Court has denied a petition to hear Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin’s case to keep the animal.

The court’s Oct. 4 decision essentially upholds lower court rulings against Sandlin’s ability to keep the tiger.

Rhetoric on Tony the Truck Stop Tiger boils over into truck stop villification 

The Gross Tete, La., truck stop has displayed Tony on its grounds since 2000. In 2011, however, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries for what it said was an unlawful issuance of a permit to allow Sandlin to keep and exhibit the tiger. 

The ALDF also said it was cruel of the truck stop to keep the tiger alone in what it deemed to be a cage too small for the animal. In early 2012, a state court judge ruled in the group’s favor and told the state’s wildlife department to stop issuing new permits that allowed the truck stop to keep Tony. 

An appeal from Sandlin was heard in February, and the court ruled in April the tiger was not allowed to stay at the truck stop. 

Here are some links to previous OD coverage on the Tony the Tiger saga: 


  • Lisa Shoun Lyons

    What will the Animal Legal Defense Fund do next,?? Take our pet dogs and cats ????? That tiger was well kept and many of us traveling cross country really enjoyed the tiger as well as the great food !!!!!

  • WickedTrucker90

    Well kept? What a joke. That tiger was in a disgustingly small cage with horrible conditions and looks after people completely unequipped for the well being of that animal. Good call Supreme Court.

  • Chuck Guintard

    are you nuts? tonys cage is larger than Mike’s at LSU, has A/c, toys, he was born and raised there, what a bunch of nuts,

  • Helen Cooley

    Bout time!!! I am so glad he wont be allowed . you all are nuts if you think that precious Tiger was alright in that place. NO ANIMAL should be kept like that!

  • Natalie Collins

    The Animal Legal Defense Fund won’t take your dogs and cats because it is NOT AGAINST THE LAW to own a dog or cat. HOWEVER, it is ILLEGAL for Sandlin to own Tony AND keep him in a cage too small for him. The Tiger Is NOT taken care of by Sandlin as he has been fined MULTIPLE times and no longer has a LICENSE to keep the PROTECTED Cat. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.