Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

Judge Rules To Remove Tiger From Grosse Tete Truck Stop

In "animal cruelty on display", "animal cruelty", "big cats", "Bobby Jindal", "corruption", "endangered tiger", "exotic cat", "Free Tony The Campaign", "Free Tony The Tiger Campaign", "free tony the tiger", "grosse tete", "help tony the tiger", "Iberville parish", "jane Velez-Mitchell", "jeff dorson", "kristin Bauer", "LDWF Board of Commissioners", "leonardo dicaprio", "maria davidson", "mary haik", "mary roberts", "michael sandlin", "private ownership", "revised ordinance", "save tony the tiger", "sky williamson", "tiger haven", "tiger truck stop", "Tony's Journey", "true blood", "until his last breath", "white house", abuse, ALDF, animal legal defense fund, ™FREE TONY THE TIGER, ™FREE TONY THE TIGER CAMPAIGN, exotic, Issues, LDWF, liars, louisiana, louisiana department of wildlife and fisheries, michael sandlin, obama, tiger, tigers, Tony, Tony The Truck Stop Tiger, truck stop, Warren Triche on 16/11/2011 at 3:28 AM

Owner: Every American Should
Have The Right To Own Exotic Animals
11/4/2011 3:16:48 PM ET2011-11-04T19:16:48

The debate over whether a tiger
can remain as an attraction at a Grosse Tete truck stop has been clawed at for
years. A state judge ruled that the Tiger Truck Stop owner could no longer keep
his tiger, Tony, at the gas station. Michael Sandlin, Tony’s owner, said
thousands have come to marvel at the exotic animal on display at the truck stop.
“We’re from Florida and we were on our way to Texas and it was kind of amazing
to see a big cat here,” said Jody McGahan, a Tiger Truck Stop customer. “He’s
beautiful” “Every American should have the right to own an exotic animal of
their choice if they’re financially and morally capable of taking care of that
animal,” Sandlin said. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries gave Sandlin a
permit to keep the tiger, but a nonprofit group, the Animal Legal Defense Fund
filed a lawsuit against the agency in a bid to have the cat moved to a more
natural setting.

“They want to yank him
from the only home he’s known for the past 10 years and the people that he’s
known and send him to another cage somewhere where he won’t have that,” Sandlin

The paddock the animal is kept in appears larger than some zoo
exhibits with a grassy area, a tank for the tiger to swim in, toys, shade and an
air conditioned room for Tony. The barred cage is surrounded by a barbed-wire
fence and the truck stop is staffed 24 hours, Sandlin said. Regardless, a judge
will have to decide if the attraction will be allowed to stay. “He’s beautiful.
I would miss him,” McGahan said. Sandlin hasn’t filed an appeal yet, but his
attorney said he plans to do so. The Animal Legal Defense Fund said it will
“continue to do everything we can to make sure Tony’s next home is a reputable,
accredited sanctuary that can give Tony the life he deserves.”


In "Free Tony The Tiger Campaign", "grosse tete", "Iberville parish", "mary haik", "michael sandlin", "tiger truck stop", louisiana, Tony The Truck Stop Tiger on 12/11/2011 at 1:39 AM

A LETTER DATED NOV 18, 2010 FROM MARK BEKOFF A PROFESSOR OF Animal Behavior/ Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.University of Colorado

Letter was addressed to Robert Barham of the Louisiana Dept of Wildlife & Fisheries. Nov 18, 2010, when the Animal Legal Defense Fund originally sent letters to them to try and get them to not re-new Tony’s yearly permit.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund had asked Professor Marc Bekoff to make an assessment regarding the welfare of Tony.

“It is my professional opinion that based on his review of Tonys enclosure and reports of his pacing along the fence in his cement cell, Tony is being kept in a manner that results in maltreatment. The circumstances of Tony’s captivity at the Tiger Truck Stop demonstrate a total failure to give a tiger what he or she needs to thrive. While his enclosure may be sufficient to keep Tony alive, the quality of that life is terrible and unacceptable.

Tony’s approximately 3,200 sq foot enclosure is a cement cell and a shadeless grassy yard. This space does not even begin to accomodate an individual of a species who naturally disperses over miles of terrritory. Not only is the size of Tony’s enclosure inadequate for his biological needs, it is also IMPOVERISHED. His envoronment is bereft of anything he would come across and interact with in his natural habitat. There is no evidence of environmental enrichment, which is absolutely vital to the psychological health of captive wildlife. A ball is completely unnatural to a tiger and unacceptable as the only provision of enrichment.

Tony’s enclosure also deprives him of the ability to make choices about how to spend his time and where. Tigers are elusive and secretive animals. They choose to spend much of their time completely concealed among dense vegetation. Tony is on constant display at Tiger Truck Stop. His only escape appears to be a concrete floored cinderblock den that is face-open to spectators snapping pictures and making noise to get his attention. Ton’ys environment also provides him inadequate water habitat. From what I understand, Tony is part Bengal Tiger. Bengal tigers live in hot climates amd are largely aquatic. Not only do they hunt and play in the water, they need to submerge in it during the heat of the day to stay cool. Tony’s water trough appears to be too small for him to swim in and the sides appear to high for him to comfortable to submerge.

In summation, Tony’s enclosure is completely unnatural and totally unfit for a wild animal. Tiger’s do not naturally live on concrete slabs and eat ground meat, on constant display. They should not endure years of uninterrupted noise, artificial light and air pollution. In light of what is known about the behavior of habitat needs of tigers, AZA accredited zoos are working very hard to improve conditions of tigers in captivity. They are providing the opposite of what Tony is being forced to endure at the Tiger Truck Stop. Specifically, zoos are starting to limit visiting hours and now give tigers the option within their enclosures to be completely off-display.

They are incorporating natural features into enclosures SUCH AS VEGETATION FOR TIGERS TO HIDE IN AND SHADE THEMSELVES AS WELL AS POOLS IN WHICH TO SWIM AND SUBMERGE. These zoos are also providing portions of intact carcasses to stimulate natural feeding behavior and implementing varying feeding times and practices to eliminate the boredom and monotony associated with a total lack of novel and unpredictable stimulation to which wild tigers are exposed. To come to the point while we sadly have tigers in captivity, there is clearly a more responsible and humane way to house these wild cats.

The manner in which Tony is being kept at Tiger Truck Stiop falls significantly below what I would consider the minimum required to ensure the psychological welfare of a tiger in captivity.”
It is Mr. Bekoff’s professional opinion that the manner in which Tony is being kept is negligent and does not even meet the minimum standards for accredited zoos and what he would consider marginally humane. He also states that the situation misinforms impressionalble spectators about the true nature of tigers and demonstrates an abysmal disregard for public safety.

The danger is heightened in tigers who are already socially and environmentally frustrated, as demonstrated here.

Tigers are powerful, complex and unpredictable carnivores and should not be underestimated. Experienced handlers and animal behavorists, not someone whose expertise and training is the managment of a gas station, must constantly oversee their care and security. The fact that a person would even house a tiger in a chain link enclosure at a gas station demonstrates the complete failure to appreciate the danger and the needs of this animal.

Mark Bekoff is a Professor in Colorado
Ethologist for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (with Jane Goodall)


WAFB 9 ~ Ruling expected in truck stop tiger case

In "corruption", "Free Tony The Tiger Campaign", "grosse tete", "help tony the tiger", "Iberville parish", ALDF, michael sandlin, Tony The Truck Stop Tiger on 03/11/2011 at 6:03 PM

Ruling expected in truck stop tiger case

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Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, LA (AP) – A judge has heard a new round of arguments on whether a truck stop can keep a live tiger on display as it has done for over a decade.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund had already won a ruling that said the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries could not issue a permit allowing the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, LA to continue exhibiting a live tiger as a roadside attraction.
The case was before state District Judge Mike Caldwell in Baton Rouge again on Wednesday.
Caldwell was expected to rule in the afternoon.
Wildlife officials said Tony is the last privately-owned big, exotic cat in the state.
The defense fund wants the tiger moved to a more natural setting to live out its life.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)