Many of life's failures...

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize
how close they were to success when they gave up." - Thomas Edison


Tony VERY Skinny

Tony VERY Skinny


Letter: Truck-stop tiger permit disgusting – 1.12.2010 & More...

Letter: Truck-stop tiger permit disgusting – 1.12.2010

Published: Jan 12, 2010 - Page: 6B
I am completely disgusted with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for issuing Michael Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop a permit to keep 9-year-old Tony the tiger locked up as a sideshow at a truck stop for the rest of his life.
I am also embarrassed for Louisiana by the number of our leaders who were contacted to help free Tony, who were in a position to do so, but refused.
Sandlin claims to love this animal, but when you truly love something, especially when it is a living, breathing, sentient being, you do what is best for him/her.
Poor Tony is kept in a too-small, barren enclosure with absolutely no enrichment. Though I am not in favor of LSU keeping a live mascot, at least Mike has a large pool and toys to provide entertainment and enrichment to his life.
Tony does nothing but pace back and forth. He has nothing to do, at all, hour after hour, day after day, year after year. An article in The Advocate states that tigers in captivity can live for up to 20 years. That’s 11 more years of NOTHING for Tony — sheer existence.
For those readers who are already yelling about your “rights” as an animal owner, please try to imagine that for even one moment.
We almost cannot comprehend it. Perhaps that is why this is so accepted among most of us — we do not take the time to really consider other creatures.
I heard Michael Sandlin say on the news that there is a big difference between animal rights and animal welfare, the one thing I’ve heard him say with which I agree. Too bad he doesn’t truly understand that statement.
Sandlin may claim that Tony is family and that he loves him, but it’s not as if he can crawl into his cage and cuddle him, play with him, and show him that love, as most of us do with our household pets. The only way to let him know how much he loves him is to let him live the best life he can in an accredited sanctuary.
I attended several of the council meetings when Tony’s fate was discussed, and I heard time and time again from Sandlin, his family, and his attorney that removing Tony would put Tiger Truck Stop in financial peril.
So keeping Tony is about love? I think not.

Stacey Orillion
sales manager
Baton Rouge

  • Fight for Tony The Tiger Freedom Continues 1.14.2010

Following up on our previous post, Truck Stop fights to keep Tony the Tiger, the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana won its battle to keep Tony the Tiger as its main attraction, as Iberville Parish Council voted 11-1 in favor of truck stop owner, Michael Sandlin. Councilman Mitchel J. Oubre said he observed about 100 visitors to Tony’s habitat in about 45 minutes, while councilman Matt Jewell added that the tuck stop employs 40 to 70 workers who could lose their jobs if customers stopped visiting the truck stop to see the famous and exotic Siberian-Bengal tiger. Thus, a few of the main reasons the council voted in favor of the owner.
Activists claim that this violates animal rights regulations, of which, Sandlin has been written up for sixteen times by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Dangers to the 550 pound animal includes:
  • Constant inhalation of diesel fumes
  • Living among its own waste
  • Flashing lights in its face by cameras
  • Aggravation by sight-seers crowding around the cage
  • Living alone with no interaction of animals of its kind (Since 2003)
Furthermore, a 1993 Parish Ordinance prohibits an individual from keeping any “wild, exotic, vicious animal or reptile for display or for exhibition purposes.” Councilman Edwin “Ed” Reeves Jr. cast the only single dissenting vote, claiming that Tony “deserves a better environment than the one he has been given at the truck stop.” It is also noted by experts that these large cats experience physical damages by being kept in cages, unable to walk their average 400 miles per day as done in the wild. Also, tigers and other wild cats that are kept in cages will resort to self mutilation.

I have visited this truck stop many times while I ran over the road and never saw 100 visitors within 45 minutes, so I would call that statement a bit of a “stretch.” Tiger Truck Stop always had great food and good people to chat with, but I always felt disheartened by these beautiful animals caged up as they were, and as Tony still is.
Sandlin counters with, “He’s a pet, and at the truck stop, Tony’s with the only family he has ever known.” The fight to free the massive animal continues:


This cause has been shown to be a hoax in large part. People copying the text and ideas of my old petitions can copy this statement now, or do their own thinking. The original author regrets involvement."


Big Cat Rescue of Tampa, Florida continues to offer the correct environmental setting for Tony, but Sandlin has stated: “They just want to steal my tiger” and that they have “Never offered to help raise money to improve Tony’s habitat.”

The battle for Tony’s freedom has been going on for years and it appears it will continue. Tiger Truck Stop offers some of the best home cooking around and whenever I visited, just good, friendly “folks.” As for this issue, I’ll be standing on the side lines watching to see how it unfolds in the future. In the meantime, freedom for Tony will have to wait.
  • Put A Tiger In Your Tank But NOT At The Truckstop Says Tachoblog 1.13.2010

Over here in the UK, the only people who can keep a tiger are zoos. Almost all, if not all, circuses that used to have such magnificant beasts no longer do. If you asked most UK motorists and truck drivers about a connection between driving and tigers, then they would probably all mention the use of a tiger by fuel company Esso for advertising purposes, ‘Put a tiger in your tank’ and all that…

However, in America, certain people do keep ‘pet’ tigers. One (in)famous example of this is Michael Sandlin, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. Tony the Tiger (pictured above in a photograph by Patrick Dennis of The Advocate is the last of four tigers that Sandlin had and pressure is being applied to have Tony moved somewhere more suitable.
According to many, the truck stop is popular thanks to its good food, however many feel that the place is not suitable for a Bengal Tiger. A comment by Tigress62 on the AskTheTrucker website sums it up well ‘Tony is exploited 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and breathes in the fumes and endures the noise of trucks and cars, as well as the taunting of ignorant people. Surely this is not a healthy environment for him. How can anyone condone such living conditions as these for any animal?’

Coming from a country that’s famed for its love of animals, Tachoblog thinks that the time for Tony to be moved somewhere better for him is long overdue and hopes that this will happen very, very soon.

Thank you for posting the information about Tony. People all over the world voiced their concern for Tony but unfortunately it fell upon deaf ears and cruel hearts. On December 14th, 2009 the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries granted the permit to Tony’s owner Michael Sandlin and Tony remains at the truck stop. I will continue to speak out for Tony and voice my concern for him as well as my objection to the decision by the LDW&F. “The greatest of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

There is a new petition for Tony asking the Iberville Parish Council to enforce their codes regarding the keeping of exotic animals. Please sign and share the link:
I strongly believe we must keep Tony’s story and his suffering at the truck stop in the eyes and minds of the public.
Please don’t give up the fight for Tony.

“The greatest of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
  • Pictures of Tony Taken 12.20.2009

Advocate staff writer
Published: Dec 29, 2009
The Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has received a permit to keep Tony the tiger, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
The permit was needed after a 2006 legislative action gave regulatory authority over private ownership of potentially dangerous animals, such as primates, wolves, bears and big cats, to the agency, said Maria Davidson, the department’s large carnivore program manager.
“These are not animals that need to be in the private sector,” Davidson said.
The legislation prohibited private ownership of the animals, but allowed people who already owned the animals before 2006 to be “grandfathered” as long as they went through a permit process to keep their current animals, Davidson said.
There were three people in the state who owned big cats and two of them decided to not keep the animals, Davidson said. The animals were taken to other facilities, she said.
The third person, Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin, wanted to keep his Siberian-Bengal tiger and started work on getting the permit, Davidson said.
However, Iberville Parish officials told Wildlife and Fisheries officials during that process that there was a parish ordinance prohibiting large cat ownership, Davidson said.
Because one of the state agency’s requirements for a permit was that it had to meet local regulations, Sandlin’s permit could not be processed, she said.
Then in March, the Iberville Parish Council approved an ordinance that allowed Sandlin’s tiger to stay with conditions, such as carrying liability insurance, training staff on how to deal with any tiger escape and specifying that the tiger’s diet be approved by a licensed veterinarian.
That opened the path for Sandlin to move forward with getting a “Possession of Potentially Dangerous Wild Quadrupeds, Big Exotic Cats and Non-Human Primates” permit from the state on Dec. 14.
Sandlin said he was prepared to take the issue all the way through the court system in order to keep the tiger. But he said it’s not right that once the tiger is gone, he can’t get another one or get the tiger a companion.
The tiger is 9 years old and Sandlin said tigers can live more than 20 years in captivity.
“Once Tony’s gone, it’s all over with,” Sandlin said. “After 22 years of exhibiting tigers and owning tigers, there’s certainly an emotional attachment.”
According to an inspection letter from Wildlife and Fisheries in September, Sandlin was required to do a number of things before a permit would be granted.
Those steps included raising the perimeter fence from 7 feet to 8 feet, changing the insurance policy, updating an escape plan and installing a safety sign that says “Danger, Wild Animal on Premises.”
The permit has been controversial with animal rights and welfare activists and others who object to the tiger being kept at a truck stop joining the debate.
Davidson said her department received many e-mails from around the world asking the department not to grant the permit.
“I am very sorry to hear that the tiger will continue to live in that miserable situation,” Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary in Tampa, Fla., wrote in an e-mailed response to questions Monday.
However, the facility meets the department requirements, Davidson said.
Despite allegations of unsanitary conditions and of the tiger being unhealthy, Davidson said that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“I stopped by there periodically just to see,” Davidson said.
The tiger is being fed a standard zoo diet, is in decent health and has an enclosure with air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter, she said.
“I know if we felt those conditions were not humane or not up to standard, then we wouldn’t have issued a permit,” Davidson said.
  • Tony Mentioned In Big Cat Rescue Article – 12.18.2009

More Info: Big Cat Rescue has offered sanctuary for Tony the Tiger, a Bengal that has lived his entire existence in a concrete cage at a truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. If the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries denies the current owner a permit to keep the tiger, Tampa could be one choice for Tony to live out the rest of his days in dignity rather than being a road side, money-making display.
Former Stories:

How long does Tony the Tiger have to wait?
Follow up on Tony the Tiger

  • Tony – December 2009 The AdvoCat Newsletter

Tony and his poem are mentioned in the December 2009 issue of Big Cat Rescue’s newsletter The AdvoCat:

More great cat news includes:
Bobcat Rescue
Farewells to Cats
Holiday Specials
Big Cats in the Cloud
2009 Photo Contest
Saving Wild Cats
Hero of the Year Party
Fur Ball Thanks
Truck Stop Tiger
Sweet 16 Kiss a Lion
  • New Petition For Tony 12.16.2009 {AGAIN BEWARE OF THIS CYBER STALKER}

There is a new petition for Tony, it’s goal being to gain the interest of the Baton Rouge media in Tony’s story. Please sign and share the link.
  • Tony’s Petition Reaches 1,000 Signatures 12.10.2009

Tony’s petition reached its’ goal of 1,000 signatures at 9:31 am PST on December 10th, 2009.
The petition is still open. Please sign and repost the link.
Thank you to all who have signed and for caring so much about Tony.
Special Thanks To:
Teresa from Don’t Be Cruel Sanctuary for creating the petition and for her articles about Tony and being a voice for animals at:
Gracey and Joanne

Gracey and Joanne posted the link on their FaceBook page and pushed the petition to 1,000 plus names today. So many of Gracey’s fans cared about Tony and signed the petition and posted comments.

Gracey is Joanne’s beautiful adopted cat. Visit Gracey at:
Sky For her endless determination and commitment to helping free Tony from the Tiger Truck Stop.

No comments:

Post a Comment