01 December 2010

Louisiana truck stop with caged tiger up for permit renewal



A 24-hour truck stop located in Grosse Tete, La. featuring a confined 10-year-old Bengal/Siberian-mix tiger—nearly its entire life—will have its permit to keep the animal reviewed by the Louisiana Wildlife Commission on Dec. 2.

The tiger, cleverly named Tony, is forced to live in a cage positioned a mere 100 feet from active diesel fuel pumps. Constant tractor trailer traffic subject the imprisoned animal to noise and an obvious overdose of exhaust fumes 24 hours a day.

Michael S. Sandlin the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop—yes more wit—makes the claim that visitors have praised his operation as taking care of the big cat better than many zoos could around the country.

According to his website:
Tony is the only tiger currently living at the Tiger Truck Stop.
Seven cubs have survived birth here, which is a better record than the national average for zoos in this country.

While Mr. Sandlin may have convinced a few visitors to his private one animal zoo that his care is first class, experts tend to disagree.

"Tony is all alone after other similar tigers were sold and taken from the truck stop, and his routine of incessantly pacing back and forth clearly demonstrates his disturbed state," says Christine Kratt, a veterinarian who has been closely following the case.

"It is the Department's position that private possession of tigers poses a significant hazard to public safety and is detrimental to the health of the animal,” said the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Large Carnivore Manager Maria Davidson. “Prolonged confinement is by its nature stressful to tigers and proper long-term care by experienced persons is essential to the health of the animal."

The “Free Tony the Tiger Campaign” is calling concerned citizens to action and additionally has a plan in place if the big cat is finally freed from the not so friendly confines of the truck stop.

"We've reached a critical point in trying to secure Tony a new home at a free-roaming Wildlife Sanctuary, as the Louisiana Wildlife Commission is meeting to review Sandlin's permit this Thursday, December 2nd, 2010, and we feel this is the perfect opportunity for people to let the Commissioners know that the permit should not be renewed,” said Sky Williamson, a representative from the Free Tony The Tiger Campaign. “We're asking concerned people to contact the Commissioners before the meeting in order to demonstrate how many people truly care about Tony's welfare."

Those interested in freeing Tony should contact the Wildlife Commissioners immediately at:

Commissioner Oats (Chairman) can be contacted at:
100 E. Vermillion St., Suite 400
Lafayette, LA 70501
Phone: (337) 233-1100
E-mail: wildlife@oatshudson.com

Commissioner Morrow may be contacted at:
P.O. Drawer 1787
Opelousas, LA 70570
Phone: (337) 948-4483
E-mail: pmorrow@mmrblaw.com

Commissioner Sagrera can be contacted at:
17801 Theall Road
Abbeville, LA 70510
Phone: (337) 893-7709
Fax: (337) 893-7703
E-mail: sws@us.com

Commissioner Taylor can be contacted at:
P.O. Box 1199
Boutte, LA 70039
E-mail: annt@heraldguide.com
ph. 985-758-2795

Commissioner Graham can be contacted at:
P.O. Box 400
Ruston, LA  71273
Phone: 318-232-7021
E-mail: ronnygraham@lincolnbuilders.com

Commissioner Voisin can be contacted at:
P.O. Box 3916
Houma, LA 70361-3916
E-mail: mike.voisin@motivatit.com
Fax: 985-868-7472
Phone: 985-868-7191


Eric Fortney | @elfortney | email
Eric is the co-founder and executive editor of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his work at TDIV, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.


Photos and Information courtesy of The Wild Animal Sanctuary

9 comments:

  1. Thank you Eric for sharing Tonys plight.....from Canada to London people are roaring for Tony...so many activists are on board to urge the Louisiana Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries not to renew this permit ( one of his three by the way that renew yearly) His permit renews Dec 14, 2010, but they have their board meeting tomorrow, we are all holding our breath and we refuse to go away until Tony is free, we will ROAR TILL HES OUT THE DOOR!!!

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  2. One cannot help but wonder what is going on "under the table" here ... by their own position it is wrong to keep a tiger in a cage, yet they make exceptions..... WHY WHY and WHY? Doesn't take
    a lot to figure it out! Good old boy politics once again.

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  3. THANK YOU, Eric. Tony has many, many caring people worldwide, supporting his release to an accredited and excellent sanctuary. Mr. Sandlin has -- customers.
    We appreciate your publicizing Tony's story and plight, and your caring. May it bring the long-desired result we all want for this lonely tiger, who deserves so much better.

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  4. Debra Dietrich12/1/10, 11:45 PM

    Thank You for helping Tony! Heres hoping the permit is denied and Tony can move to a "real home"

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  5. Thank you Eric for helping Spread the Word about Tony. One of the World's Most Loved Tigers is in the fate of Louisiana and it's Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries....
    The World is Watching for this State and it's Dept. to Finally do the Right thing for Tony this time. Not what is right for Owner Michael Sandlin.
    The World Cares....and is Not Going away until Justice is done for Tony!!!
    Everyone Please JOIN IN THIS FIGHT, AND HELP SAVE TONY THE TIGER. PLEASE BE HIS VOICE.

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  6. The world DOES care--why doesn't the the LDWF?? Tony has lots of great people working for him and we need to keep on working until he is out of there! Thank you for sharing his sad story, that will hopefully have a happy ending!

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  7. TELL HIM TO FREE TONY THE TIGER

    Contact Governor Bobby Jindal
    225-342-0991

    Governor Bobby Jindal

    Office of The Governor
    P. O. Box 94004
    Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004
    Phone: (225) 342-7015
    Fax: (225) 342-7099

    web e-mail form: http://www.gov.la.gov/index.cfm?md=form&tmp=email_governor

    Governor Jindal’s FaceBook Page:

    http://www.facebook.com/bobbyjindal

    website: http://www.gov.state.la.us/

    "Bobby Jindal believes Louisiana must break free from the lingering legacy of the past and fully embrace a government that is honest, more efficient, accountable to all its citizens and attractive to deal with by outside investors. Louisiana must proceed quickly and forcefully to overcome a stereotype built up over decades, which continues to hamper our ability to expand the economy and improve the quality of life in our state."

    SO THEN DO SOMETHING JINDAL!!!!!! YOU ARE ALLOWING TONY TO SIT THERE AND SUFFER, HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT? HIS BLOOD IS ON YOUR HANDS!

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  8. They should renew his permit because tony the tiger should be with the other tigers not in a cage.

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  9. Tony-You have been kept in your hell to serve more than one man's greed. You have become a pawn to many, who use your name to suit their own purpose. Humanity has failed you, if they released you today it still would be 10 years to late.

    ReplyDelete