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Tony VERY Skinny

Tony VERY Skinny


LDWF postpones hearing on revocation of permit

Judge says truck stop owner can’t intervene in decisions about Tony the tiger

  • June 10, 2011 3:58 am ET

Katerina Lorenzatos Makris

Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete, Louisiana
Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete, Louisiana
Courtesy of Tiger Truck Stop

The owner of a Louisiana truck stop that in turn owns a Siberian-Bengal tiger as a roadside attraction does not have the right to involvement in current legal proceedings to determine the animal’s future, a state district judge has ruled.

According to Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) staff attorney Matthew Liebman, Judge Michael R. Caldwell “has denied [Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael] Sandlin's petition to intervene in the case, and Sandlin is attempting to appeal the decision.”

Last month ALDF won a lawsuit against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) that resulted in a judge prohibiting the agency from renewing Tiger Truck Stop’s permit to keep ten-year-old Tony.

However Caldwell denied ALDF’s request that he revoke the truck stop’s current permit, which expires in December, allowing the 550-pound cat to continue drawing customers to the Gross Tete business until then. ALDF subsequently filed a new motion asking for revocation of that permit.
Sandlin told Animal Policy Examiner in a recent phone interview that he filed the petition to intervene because he believes his “civil rights were violated… These two entities [ALDF and LDWF] went to court, and without my participation or without my being allowed to present evidence or an argument of any kind, decided what to do with my property. And we’re requesting a new hearing. If he [the judge] rules against our petition, we’re prepared to file an appeal and take it to a higher court. So the fight is far from over.”

LDWF postpones hearing on revocation of permit
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has asked for postponement of the hearing on the issue of the truck stop’s current permit to keep Tony.

According to Liebman, "The hearing is still on calendar for next Tuesday, but the state has asked for a continuance, which would delay the hearing indefinitely. We filed an opposition to the continuance today [June 9]. We probably won’t know until Monday or even Tuesday whether the hearing will take place as scheduled; it all depends on whether the judge grants the continuance."
To voice your opinion on Tony's future, contact Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Read previous articles about Tony:
Public input favors revocation of truck stop’s permit to keep tiger, says Louisiana spokesman

New tussle over Tony the tiger
True Blood star Kristin Bauer van Straten works to free tiger from truck stop
Please check this page again soon for upcoming articles about Tony including:
Tiger Truck Stop owner says ‘the fight’s far from over’ to keep Tony there – Q&A interview
New video alleges that animal activists abused Tony the Tiger at truck stop
Wildly divergent opinions on captive wildlife – the tussle over Tony the truck stop tiger
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Katerina Lorenzatos Makris (a.k.a. Kathryn Makris) has written 18 books for major publishers and hundreds of articles for publications such as National Geographic Traveler, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones,, and two regional news wire services.
A cofounder of, she holds a B.A. in Environmental Science Studies and a lifelong interest in animal issues.
Among her books are Your Adopted Dog: Everything You Need to Know about Rescuing and Caring for a Best Friend in Need (The Lyons Press), coauthored with Shelley Frost, and The Eco-Kids, a series of novels for tweens (Avon Books).
Her story "Small Change" placed as a finalist in The Bark magazine's short fiction contest and appeared in the November 2010 issue.
She may be reached at

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