Tony Stuck at Truck Stop Since 11-wk Old Cub.
A Louisiana judge ruled this week that Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin’s 550-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger can no longer be kept at the truck stop in Gross Tete, Louisiana. Judge Michael Caldwell ruled that Sandlin’s current permit to keep the cat, issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife Fisheries, was illegally issued, must be revoked, and can’t be renewed.
VIDEO: Big Cats in the Backyard! - All New season of Fatal Attractions begins Friday, Nov. 11 at 9 p.m.
The ruling by Judge Caldwell favors a motion set forth by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to force the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the permit that allows Sandlin to keep the tiger at the business. Since he was 11 weeks old, Tony has been a draw for gawking motorists who patronize the truck stop, buying food, gassing up and sticking around to get a picture with him.
[STORY: Why do people collect wild, dangerous animals and what laws are in place to control them? ]
Sandlin argues that moving Tony now would be cruel and indicates that the truck stop is neatly kept, flowers blooming outside, on a quiet road away from the interstate. Tony’s cage has a grassy area, a large water tank for Tony to swim in, hanging tire and other toys — even shade and an air-conditioned den. His 3,600-square-foot cage is surrounded by a 10-foot chain link fence topped with barbed wire, set back several feet.
[What's the Deal: Why do people choose to have exotic pets?]
The ALDF contends it’s dangerous holding a big tiger at a business, recalling last month’s exotic wildlife tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio
What Do You Think?
Tigers are kept as exotic pets in various parts of the nation. Some are well taken care of in beautiful sprawling sanctuaries, others not so much — as witnessed in Zanesville and other low-rent petting zoos dotting the interstates. Where should Tony go now?
More on exotic pets: Fatal Attractions: Watch Encounters With Big Cats | Quiz: Could You Own a Perilous Pet? | Read: Tigers, Bears Escape in Ohio | Fatal Attractions: NEW SEASON STARTS NOV. 11