Latest on Tony The Truck Stop Tiger - May 8, 2012
May 7, 2012: In today’s hearing in Baton Rouge, District Judge Janice Clark agreed that the Animal Legal Defense Fund and two Louisiana residents can be parties to the lawsuit filed by Michael Sandlin, owner of Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop, against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). ALDF and the other interveners seek to defend the state’s law banning private ownership of big cats. Thanks to today’s ruling, ALDF will now have a right to participate in all steps of the litigation as it moves forward.
In their case, Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are suing the state, arguing that Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of big cats like Tony is unconstitutional—flying in the face of the current national sentiment that dangerous exotic animals should be more strictly regulated. Ohio is currently considering a bill that would ban new ownership of captive wild animals, following the massacre of 48 animals including lions, tigers, and bears, who were released by their Zanesville owner last October. Additionally, in February, a bipartisan bill—the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act”—was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would prohibit the breeding and private possession of captive big cats. ALDF’s intervention in Sandlin’s case will support Louisiana’s power to safeguard public safety and the welfare of animals like Tony through such legislative measures.
May 3, 2012: In today’s hearing in Baton Rouge, the judge ruled ALDF’s plaintiffs lacked standing in our lawsuit to force the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to do its job of enforcing Louisiana’s big cat ban now that the Tiger Truck Stop and Michael Sandlin are keeping Tony the tiger without a permit, in open violation of state law. The judge also ruled that department has discretion whether or not to enforce Louisiana’s law banning private ownership of big cats at this time.
Over 50,000 of Tony's supporter have signed an ALDF petition to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries over the past year, urging them to do their job—we're all getting tired of waiting for the department to do the job it's supposed to do and protect the best interests of both Tony and the public.
Today’s decision in no way affects the judge’s ruling that Michael Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop cannot be granted a permit to keep Tony. We fully expect that once all the legal proceedings relating to this case have wrapped up, the Department will do the job it is supposed to do and make sure Tony is no longer displayed without a permit. We are considering our options for appeal in today’s decision, and we are continuing to fight Michael Sandlin’s attempts to delay the inevitable day when Tony will finally go to a suitable forever home at a sanctuary where he can live out his days as a tiger should.
“The eyes of a disbelieving nation have been on this case for well over a year, says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We're all wondering the same thing: why should Tony continue to languish at the Tiger Truck Stop, so many months after the judge’s ruling in our favor?”
May 2, 2012: Two hearings are scheduled for the coming week in the ongoing case of Tony, the eleven-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger kept at Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop.
On Thursday, May 3, the court will consider the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s most recent lawsuit against the Louisiana Departnent of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). The lawsuit, filed on April 5, seeks to force LDWF to do its job of enforcing Louisiana’s big cat ban now that the Tiger Truck Stop and Michael Sandlin are keeping Tony without a permit, in open violation of state law.
On Monday, May 7, the court will hear ALDF’s petition to intervene in the lawsuit filed by the Tiger Truck Stop and its owner Michael Sandlin against the state of Louisiana. Their case argues that Louisiana’s ban on private ownership of big cats like Tony is unconstitutional—flying in the face of the current national sentiment that dangerous exotic animals should be more strictly regulated. ALDF’s petition in intervention supports Louisiana’s power to safeguard public safety and animal welfare through such legislative measures. An ALDF representative will be testifying at the hearing.