Louisiana sued over truck stop’s exemption to keep Tony the Tiger

| July 15, 2014
Tony the Tiger, in his cage at the Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete, La. | Photo from FoxNews.com.
Tony the Tiger, in his cage at the Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete, La. | Photo from FoxNews.com.

The author of Louisiana’s 2006 law prohibiting private ownership of big cats is suing the state over a new law that will allow Tony the Tiger to remain at the tiger’s truck stop home. 

Former Democrat Rep. Warren Triche Jr. and the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed suit in East Baton Rouge District Court after Gov. Bobby Jindal signed the bill into law June 18. Animal rights organizations had asked the Republican governor to veto the legislation that exempts individuals who owned big cats at the time Triche’s law became effective. 

In May, the Senate had voted 20-18 vote and the House 68-27 in favor of Republican Sen. Rick Ward’s bill, which effectively grants sole exemption to Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin. Tony, a 14-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, has been displayed at Sandlin’s Grosse Tete truck stop home since he was a few months old.

Related

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

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 the owner's case to keep Tony the Tiger.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Sandlin’s bid for the high court to hear his appeal to a lower court’s ruling that he could not keep the tiger. But Louisiana’s new law allows him to do so, as the court rulings saying he couldn’t were based on the previous law. 

Triche and the non-profit ALD say the exemption violates Louisiana’s constitutional prohibition against laws granting exclusive benefits to a private individual or interest. “Tony’s situation played a principal role in passing the 2006 bill, as he was a perfect example of why such legislation was needed,”  Triche stated in a June 25 ALFD media release.

The new case was filed in the same court where the ALDF and Triche successfully argued that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries had unlawfully issued Sandlin a permit. Last year, the state appeals court upheld that decision, which the Louisiana Supreme Court let stand. 

The suit names the LDWF, the State of Louisiana, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Tiger Truck Stop, and Sandlin.

Click here to see Overdrive‘s past coverage of Tony the Tiger’s legal saga. 

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  • Barney

    Why can’t this dumb former representative just well enough the !@#$ alone? Unless the animal is not being cared for or it’s enclosure presents a danger to those who view it, maybe he should find something productive to do with his time

  • Scott

    I never buy fuel at that station with the tiger I think it is horrible to allow this magnificent animal to be kept in such a small enclosure