Activist wants to close attraction
All Photos © – By – & Used With Permission From MHK
THESE PHOTOS BRING MUCH SHAME TO THE FREE TONY THE TIGER CAMPAIGN. IT IS VERY SAD THAT PEOPLE ARE SO DESPRATE FOR ATTENTION THAT THEY WILL PUT THEIR INITIALS RIGHT THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE PICTURE . AGAIN THIS SHOWS THAT THIS CAMPAIGN BRINGS FORWARD ALL KINDS; EVEN PEOPLE WITH NO CHARACTER, MORALS OR VALUES.
THE PEOPLE THAT CONTINUE TO DO THIS ARE TAKING THE ATTENTION AWAY FROM “TONY” WHICH IS WHY THE FREE TONY THE TIGER CAMPAIGN WAS CREATED.
LET ME REMIND YOU THE NAME IS “FREE TONY THE TIGER CAMPAIGN” NOT ME-ME-ME CAMPAIGN.
THIS IS A STATEMENT FROM MARY HAIK AKA MHK (WHICH IS ON ALL THE PICTURES.)
· By KORAN ADDO
· Advocate Westside bureau
· Published: Dec 3, 2010 - Page: 1B
An animal-rights activist made an impassioned plea to Louisiana wildlife commissioners Thursday, calling on them to withhold renewal of a permit allowing an Interstate 10 truck stop to keep a live tiger on display as a roadside attraction.
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission members, however, declined to intervene in the matter. One of them said the issue is properly under the control of the state Wildlife and Fisheries Department, and not the commission.
Mary Haik, of Zachary, argued before the commission that the tiger exhibit at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete is an example of “one of those times when the whole world looks at Louisiana and thinks that we reek of corruption and idiocy.”
Haik asserted the state has stood by doing nothing while Iberville Parish government has made exceptions to its parish ordinances in order to allow the truck stop to continue to exhibit Tony, a 10-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, on the property.
An Iberville Parish ordinance enacted in 1993 prohibits parish residents from owning wild, exotic and vicious animals for exhibition.
The tiger exhibit was grandfathered in last year when the Iberville Parish Council approved a new ordinance allowing the truck stop to keep the tiger.
The new ordinance carries several conditions, however, such as requiring liability insurance, training staff how to deal with a possible tiger escape and specifying that the tiger’s diet must be approved by a licensed veterinarian.
The ordinance further stipulates that the truck stop be subject to unannounced inspections to make sure the tiger is in good health and that Tony is the last tiger the business would be able to exhibit.
Haik argued that the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission should not renew a state permit allowing the tiger to remain on display in what she described as unhealthy conditions.
The tiger has been “illegally owned” since 2000, she said, citing the parish ordinance enacted in 1993 that prohibits exhibition of big cats such as Tony in Iberville Parish.
“If laws are written to protect these endangered species, and then the laws are not enforced as written, then why write them in the first place?” Haik asked the commissioners.
Commissioner Patrick Morrow suggested after the meeting adjourned that Haik should have taken her case against Tony’s continued captivity at the truck stop to Wildlife and Fisheries Department staff members and not to the commission itself.
“The commission enacts rules and regulations,” Morrow said. “As long as the truck stop is in compliance with existing laws, the department, from the commission’s standpoint, has no reason to deny the permit.”
Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham also said after the meeting he had not seen any evidence showing that the truck stop is breaking the law.
“Until that occurs, the truck stop is fulfilling its obligations and the permit will be renewed,” Barham said.
Wildlife and Fisheries officials said earlier this week the truck stop has until Dec. 31 to provide proof of insurance and a health certificate from a veterinarian in order to obtain a state permit to continue exhibiting Tony.
Edward “Lucky” Songy, Iberville Parish’s chief administrative officer, did not attend Thursday’s meeting, but said in an interview the truck stop tiger exhibit had been grandfathered in because the business had tigers on public view before the parish enacted the 1993 law prohibiting such ownership of big cats.
Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin did not return calls for comment Wednesday or Thursday.