UPDATE: Circus Malta: Petition Supporting Animal Circuses Gains 5,000 Signatures

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Thursday 9 January 2014

Most animal charities & the public want to see a ban worldwide of wild animals being used in circuses. Now the owner of this circus is circulating his own petition to keep his Malta circus open. So please if you don’t agree with animals performing degrading tricks, kept behind bars & of course the cruelty that has been documented in circuses: PLEASE SIGN THE PETITIONS BELOW. We can’t let this circus continue, if it does through its petition, the flood gates for circuses using wild animals may open again; that would be tragic after all the hard work has been done to stop them!!

Circus promoter says 2013 could be last year for animal circuses in Malta due to the proposed ban.

But circus promoter Silvio Zammit has collected 5,000 signatures as part of a petition to overturn a proposal to ban animal circuses.

The circus has now moved to Ghajnsielem, Gozo, where Zammit hopes to continue collecting more signatures. The petition will then be passed on to the competent authorities.

Zammit, who has been bringing circuses to Malta for the past 16 years, said he could not allow the banning of animal circuses from Malta without taking any action.

“It was a personal initiative after finding out that the government had moved on to publish a White Paper proposing to ban animal circuses,” he said.

See all the animals, such as, Long horn cattle, Donkeys, Lama, Camels, Lions, Tigers, Zebra, Elephant, Giraffe, Baboon, Horses, Ponies, Donkeys performing pitiful & degrading acts; acts they would never do in the wild. The animal acts stop at 12 mins; then the human artists perform!I believe the only thing not seen is the Hippo; but is in a video below!!

Circo Orfei Floriana Malta 1st January 2012

Uploaded on 2 Jan 2012 – By levelone12

He argued that only 390 persons took part in the consultation process initiated by the government, of which 49% said they were against such a circus.

“We know that the majority of these were NGOs, and NGOs do not reflect popular opinion. I am doing this petition on my own. I know that there are many others who would like to sign it, but I have neither the time nor the manpower to go on a nation-wide petition,” Zammit said.

He said he was “very happy” with the number of signatures collected: “This shows that the Maltese do love the circus. They won’t flood the streets of Valletta with placards to support the circus.”

He also said that a number of MPs from both sides of the House visited Circo Orfei this winter. “Some came with their children while others accompanied their grandchildren. They thanked me for the level of the show and all said they had fun,” Zammit said.

He however refused to name them.

The debate as to whether Malta should ban animal circuses for good has been going on for a number of years, with animal rights NGOs insisting that circuses solely operate to maximise profits while completely disregarding the safety of the animals and the adverse effects they may impose.

Animal Rights Coalition said veterinarians only attend to the animal’s physical needs and as a result, the psychological issues brought about by the circuses are not being addressed.

With a number of countries moving to ban animal circuses for good, Zammit said in Italy alone there were 800 circuses. He said the UK was one of the countries which will stop animal circuses as from next year. “But this was the result of many circuses caught mistreating their animals,” he said, adding that the circus he brought to Malta did not see animals performing any tricks and only a minimal part of the show was dedicated to animals.My pic4

Zammit argued that the circus animals were born in captivity “and therefore they do not know otherwise. Their trainers threat them like their pets”.

He said Animal Welfare Department officials and veterinarians made regular checks to verify that the animals were well-kept.

Circo Orfei’s travelling team is made up of 60 people, whose living depends on the shows, Zammit said.

“This is their life. They are a community who live on the road and have been doing so for years on end. This is how they earn a living… their bread and butter,” he said.

The Animal Rights Coalition has also called for a full ban on dolphinaria and aquaria. The coalition has said it was unjust to deny dolphins the right to roam free in their natural habitat and called for the ban on dolphinariums as these restrict the creatures to a mere pool.

The Coalition also said that this should extend to aquaria as in this case, animals are likewise being “confined to cages and restricted from roaming in their natural habitat”.

Protesters outside circus. Image from http://www.timesofmalta.com -

But Zammit feels that two weights and two measures were being applied when talking about animal circuses and aquaria.

He also said that circuses gave people the opportunity to see animals which would otherwise require them to travel abroad to zoos or safaris.

He insisted that a proper discussion was required and said he agreed that animals like elephants, pandas and monkeys should be banned. “What we have in our circus are horses, ponies, donkeys and tigers,” he said, adding that tigers in captivity lived for an average of 25 years while those in the wild lived for 12 years.

Circo Orfei also has a hippo and an emu as part of their travelling repertoire. 

News Link:-http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/en/newsdetails/news/national/Petition-supporting-animal-circuses-gains-5-000-signatures-20140108

Petitions to ban wild animals in circuses:-We must get the ban in place before this circus succeeds with their petition to continue

Published on 7 Jan 2013 – This video shows the hippo in the ring, but its towards the end of the video, after the trapeze act! What the hell is a hippo doing in a circus? Bloody outrageous!! Search Circo Orfei on You Tube to see all the animals when not entertaining  :-http://youtu.be/GEMx3YVIRmg 

Published on 10 Jan 2013 – Tiger & Lion Act:-http://youtu.be/aHeMPaW_d20

Published on 6 Sep 2013 – This is about the lions & tigers in the outside enclosure plus RARE WHITE LIONS & TIGERS?? Are they interbreeding??:-http://youtu.be/K40RjOFsX4c

My previous posts on circus in Malta etc.:-

R.I.P: In Memoriam: Dr. Mel Richardson

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Posted by Matthew Liebman, ALDF Senior Attorney on January 6, 2014

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to a dear friend of the animals and of ALDF.  Dr. Mel Richardson, affectionately known as Dr. Mel to his friends and colleagues, passed away on January 2 at the age of 63.

With more than 40 years of veterinary experience, Dr. Mel was a tireless advocate for captive wild animals.

Mel during filming of Lion Ark. He will be sadly missed. — with Mel Richardson. Animal Defenders International

Picture from; Facebook Save All Elephants:-https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152543127764358&set=a.10152543127689358.1073741832.75101244357&type=1&theater

I first met Mel at an elephant summit at the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary about four years ago. I was immediately charmed by his laid-back demeanor, his sense of humour, his discernable kindness, and, of course, his Georgian accent. Dr. Mel quickly became an important part of ALDF’s work on behalf of captive wildlife. He was the expert witness in our lawsuit against the City of Seattle concerning the inhumane captivity of elephants at the Woodland Park Zoo, where Mel was once a zookeeper.

Dr. Mel was the veterinarian in charge of transporting Ben the bear from a tiny, barren concrete cage to a spacious, naturalistic enclosure at the PAWS sanctuary after a lawsuit filed by ALDF and PETA freed Ben from the roadside zoo in North Carolina that held him captive.

Most recently, Mel wrote a comment letter on behalf of ALDF concerning the cruel captivity otwo elephants at the Niabi Zoo in Illinois, who were ultimately transferred to better conditions (albeit, at another zoo).

He was also a regular consultant for us on all sorts captive wildlife cases, and the phrase “Let’s call Dr. Mel and ask him” was uttered frequently at our litigation meetings. These are just a few examples of Mel’s work, and he did much more for many other organizations. His primary allegiance was to the animals and he was happy to help anyone at any time.

We will miss Dr. Mel greatly, not only as a colleague and a consultant, but as a friend. He died too soon, but he left a wonderful legacy that will continue to inspire us to fight for freedom for animals.

News Link:-http://aldf.org/blog/in-memoriam-dr-mel-richardson/

Tony The Tiger Gets Pool, But Not Wet (Video Link)

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“I have written many post’s on Tony, including my own personal thoughts; if you wish to read any click this link:-http://preciousjules1985.wordpress.com/?s=Tony+the+tiger

GROSSE TETE — How do you get a 550-pound Bengal tiger that lives in a cage at a truck stop to crawl into his newly built pool?

Drop a bloody hunk of mixed, ground horse meat and beef on a corner of the tiger’s new wooden pool deck?

Nope. That didn’t work.

Pour electric blue-colored Dawn dishwashing liquid into the pool water to create a bubble bath?

Nope. That didn’t work.

I couldn’t embed the video code, so watch video here:-http://theadvocate.com/news/6852719-123/tony-the-tiger-enjoys-pool#comments

Tony isn’t interested in his new pool!!

Even though the temperature was north of 90 degrees Thursday afternoon, Tony the tiger just wouldn’t budge.

“Too many cameras around. He must be nervous. He’s curious though. I’m sure he’ll get in later when everybody is gone,” said Mike Sandlin, Tony’s owner and owner of the Tiger Truck Stop off Interstate 10 in Iberville Parish.

Instead of jumping in right away, Tony paced inside his 3,200-square-foot steel cage, then plopped down in a far corner.

Tony and his newly built pool are about 96 miles from the Louisiana Supreme Court in New Orleans, where justices will decide in weeks or months to either take up an appeal by Sandlin to allow the tiger to remain at the truck stop or allow a ruling by the state’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeal to stand.

If the appellate court’s ruling stands, Sandlin will be forced to send Tony, his “baby,” to another location.

“As long as God provides me breath and money, I’ll keep fighting to keep Tony here,” Sandlin said between patting beads of sweat on his neck with a hand towel.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nonprofit group that wants Tony removed from the truck stop, didn’t seemed impressed Thursday with Tony’s new pool.

“The bottom line is they can put all the bells and whistles they want to out there. You still have a tiger in a truck stop,” Animal Legal Defense Fund attorney Matthew Liebman said.

“Legally speaking, the pool doesn’t change anything,” Liebman said by telephone from California.

The state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge ruled in April that Tony cannot continue to be housed in an exhibit at the Grosse Tete truck stop where he has lived for 12 years.

The appellate court has refused to reconsider its decision.

Sandlin’s truck stop has been displaying tigers for 25 years.

Tony, a 13-year-old tiger, was sold to Sandlin by a Texas exotic animal breeder when the creature was 6 months old.

State District Judge Mike Caldwell ruled previously that a 2006 Louisiana law bars the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries from renewing Sandlin’s permit to house Tony at the truck stop.

The 1st Circuit’s April decision affirmed that ruling.

The appellate panel, however, overturned Caldwell’s decision to allow the Animal Legal Defense Fund to intervene in a civil lawsuit on the side of four Louisiana residents who wanted Tony sent to an accredited wildlife sanctuary.

Caldwell concluded the state agency violated its own rules by exempting Sandlin and Tiger Truck Stop from permit requirements for owners of big cats.

The judge ruled a state permit can be issued only to an individual, not a corporation.

Tiger Truck Stop was the permit holder, not Sandlin, the judge said.

The truck stop’s last annual state permit expired in 2011.

Sandlin contends he has held a federal permit to keep tigers at the truck stop since 1988.

Tony’s ultimate fate hinges on what the state Supreme Court does with Sandlin’s appeal.

In the meantime, Tony has a new pool to cool off in thanks to the man who raised the $3,800 to build it, Joe “Joe Exotica” Schreibvogel.

Tony the tiger gets pool  but not wet  Video    News   The Advocate — Baton Rouge  LA

Joe Exotic

Schreibvogel, who arrived in Grosse Tete on Wednesday with a construction crew of five, said he raised the money for Tony’s pool from viewers of his daily Internet television show, “Exotic Animal TV Starring Joe Exotic.”

Sandlin has said if he is forced by the courts to eventually send Tony away, he will send the tiger to Schreibvogel’s animal park, G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Okla.

Schreibvogel said he owns 173 tigers.

“I can tell you that I’ve been out here three times,” Schreibvogel said Thursday afternoon. “And I can tell you this: There is no animal sanctuary in America that has this nice of a cage.”

When asked about concerns for Tony voiced by animal rights activists, Schreibvogel shot back, “If they cared so much for Tony, why didn’t they build him a pool?”

Lynn Dool, a truck driver from Ontario, Canada, said he read about Tony’s story online and stopped by Thursday to get a glimpse of the tiger.

“He seems domesticated. He’s been here for 12 years and there haven’t been any problems. I say let him live here,” Dool said.

News Link:-http://theadvocate.com/news/6852719-123/tony-the-tiger-enjoys-pool

Response from ‘Free Tony The Tiger:’-

Via The Animal Legal Defense Fund: The Advocate recently wrote a story about a pool that was built in Tony the Tiger’s enclosure. Our response?

“The bottom line is they can put all the bells and whistles they want to out there. You still have a tiger in a truck stop,” Animal Legal Defense Fund attorney Matthew Liebman said. “Legally speaking, the pool doesn’t change anything.”

Please leave polite but firm comments in support of freeing Tony at the following link: http://theadvocate.com/news/6852719-123/tony-the-tiger-enjoys-pool

ALDF: Taking Ag Gag to Court, Please Act Now

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The Animal Legal Defense Fund, along with PETA, has filed the nation’s first lawsuit against ag gag legislation, taking Utah to court for infringing on the free speech rights of activists, investigators, and journalists by criminalizing undercover investigations at factory farms.

Take action! Sign the petition to stop ag gag.

Watch Video below!

Utah’s ag gag law aims to prevent animal advocates and law enforcement from collecting evidence of egregious and illegal abuse of animals on factory farms.

Ag Gag & Animal Cruelty

Factory farms want to keep their cruel practices hidden from the public, but the public deserves the truth about how the billions of animals suffering on industrial farms are treated and whether or not laws are being broken that jeopardize food safety, workers’ rights, and environmental standards.

Shocking exposés from undercover investigations have revealed severe animal abuse on factory farms, like animals beaten, kicked, maimed, and thrown by workers. Industrial agriculture has also brought us the unsavory likes of ammonia and pink slime in hamburgers, antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” chickens abandoned by the thousands to starve to deathpregnant and nursing pigs held in gestation crates that never allow them to turn around, and sick and downed cows dragged on the ground to become lunchmeat. Corporate agriculture’s massive profit ratio and proven inclination to hide in a dark world of secrecy makes journalistic and investigative freedom imperative to the well-being of animals across the nation—and to our own health and safety.

Journalistic Integrity

Utah’s ag gag law criminalizes free speech. That is why the Animal Legal Defense Fund is joining with journalists Will Potter and Jesse Fruhwirth; Daniel Hauff, an undercover investigations consultant specializing in factory farms; the political journal CounterPunch; and professor James McWilliams, as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.  “There’s a long history of investigative journalism in this country based on exactly the type of research and whistleblowing that these laws criminalize,” Will Potter explains. “Ag gag laws make it impossible to report stories that are vitally important to the public.”

Utah activist Amy Meyer is also a plaintiff in the case. In February, Amy made headlines by videotaping the operations at Dale Smith Meatpacking Company in Draper, Utah from the roadside. Amy was charged under Utah’s ag gag law—making her the first person in the nation to be prosecuted under an ag gag law–although the charges were dropped after public outcry.

Ag gag laws aim to control our behaviour by instilling fear of prosecution. This is legally known as the “chilling effect” because it intimidates people from acting and gathering information—even in legally-protected ways.  Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam recently vetoed a proposed ag gag law after the Tennessee Attorney General called the bill “constitutionally suspect.” Erwin Chemerinksy, a professor and dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine, and a leading scholar of U.S. constitutional law, has weighed in in support of the lawsuit, explaining, “The Utah law is very much directed at restricting speech, and especially particular messages.  This is exactly what the First Amendment prohibits.”

More Information

News Link:-http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/features/taking-ag-gag-to-court/

First Person Charged with Violating Ag Gag Law

Published on 22 Jul 2013

Amy Meyer was the first person charged with violating an ag gag law, for simply filming a slaughterhouse from a public road in Draper City, Utah.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed the nation’s first lawsuit against ag gag legislation, taking Utah to court for infringing on the free speech rights of activists, investigators, and journalists by criminalizing undercover investigations at factory farms.

Court: Grosse Tete Truck Stop Tiger Must Be Moved

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Tony, the 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger, cannot continue to be housed in an exhibit at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, a three-judge panel of the state’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeal ruled Thursday in Baton Rouge.

Will Tony Ever Have The Right To Breath Fresh Air??

But an attorney for truck stop owner Michael Sandlin said Tony will not be moved to a new home soon.

We are going to file for a rehearing at the 1st Circuit. If we lose on rehearing, we’ll be filing an appeal with the Louisiana Supreme Court,” said Jennifer Treadway Morris, Sandlin’s attorney.

Members of the 1st Circuit panel were Circuit Judges J.E. “Duke” Welch and Randolph H. Parro, as well as retired Judge William F. Kline Jr., who serves on the appellate bench by special appointment of the state’s Supreme Court.

The 20-page decision written by Welch upheld a November 2011 judgment by 19th Judicial District Judge Michael Caldwell, who ruled a 2006 state law bars the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries from renewing Sandlin’s permit to house Tony at the truck stop exhibit off Interstate 10.

The appellate panel, however, overturned Caldwell’s decision to allow the nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund to intervene in the civil suit on the side of four Louisiana residents who wanted Tony, now 12, sent to an accredited wildlife sanctuary.

Those four residents are Warren Triche Jr., Brandi J. Sutten, Jennifer Torquati and John Kelleher.

Matthew G. Liebman, a California-based attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said he does not believe the nonprofit organization will appeal the 1st Circuit’s ruling that it should not have intervened in the litigation.

The most important part of the 1st Circuit’s decision was its agreement with Caldwell that state officials cannot renew the permit that allowed Tony to be kept at the truck stop, Liebman said.

“We see this decision as a victory,” Liebman added. “It looks like Tony is finally going to breathe some fresh air.”

Morris, however, noted that Sandlin has a related civil suit pending before 19th Judicial District Court Judge Janice Clark.

Sandlin argues in that suit that a 1993 Iberville Parish ordinance should not be allowed to ban ownership of “wild, exotic or vicious animals for display or for exhibition.”

In his suit, Sandlin adds that he has held a federal permit to keep tigers at the truck stop, just off Interstate 10, since 1988. He argues that a parish ordinance cannot ignore federal rules.

Although the case in Clark’s court remains to be decided, Morris said the 1st Circuit’s decision not to grant standing to the California nonprofit organization in Caldwell’s court is a good sign for Sandlin.

“We beat the Animal Legal Defense Fund” in the first case, Morris said. “That’s a big win.”

News Link:-http://theadvocate.com/home/5811635-125/appellate-court-tiger-must-be

Victory in ALDF’s Tony the Tiger Case!

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Posted by Matthew Liebman, ALDF Staff Attorney on April 26th, 2013

Yesterday the Louisiana Court of Appeal issued its long-awaited opinion in Animal Legal Defense Fund v. State of Louisiana, holding that Michael Sandlin is ineligible for a permit to confine Tony the Tiger in a cage at the Tiger Truck Stop.

Although the court held that ALDF lacked standing to be a plaintiff in the case, it nevertheless confirmed that our clients—Louisiana residents and taxpayers—do have standing to challenge illegal actions by the government, in this case the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

In ruling on the merits, the court agreed with ALDF’s argument that Michael Sandlin cannot receive a grandfather permit to continue to keep Tony because Sandlin does not meet the legal requirements for such a permit. As the court put it:

The record establishes that on August 15, 2006, Tony was not owned by Michael Sandlin; rather, he was owned by Tiger Truck Stop. Additionally, on August 15, 2006, the ownership and possession of Tony by Tiger Truck Stop and the possession by Michael Sandlin in Iberville Parish was in violation of a local ordinance, and thus, illegal. Although that local ordinance was amended in 2009 retroactive to August 15, 2006, the amendment to the ordinance did not change the fact that on August 15, 2006, neither Tiger Truck Stop nor Michael Sandlin legally possessed or legally owned Tony. Only an individual who legally possessed an exotic cat (such as a tiger) and who could prove legal ownership of that exotic cat is entitled to a permit for that cat. Accordingly, that part of the judgment of the trial court granting a final/permanent injunction against DWF, enjoining it from issuing any new permits to Michael Sandlin and/or Tiger Truck Stop for the tiger (“Tony” microchip #477E201A4C) now located at Tiger Truck Stop in Iberville Parish is affirmed.

The decision marks a significant step towards Tony’s freedom, as the second-highest court in Louisiana has confirmed that the Department erred when it issued Sandlin a permit. Sandlin’s lawyer has said she intends to seek rehearing of the Court of Appeal’s decision, as well as review by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Sandlin also has his own lawsuit to invalidate the state’s big cat ban. But rest assured ALDF will fight every step of the way to make sure Tony ends up in a reputable sanctuary. We still have a long road ahead, but we’ve cleared a major hurdle and have earned this moment of celebration.

News Link:-http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2438

A Tiger, a Truck Stop And A Pitched Legal Battle

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“Please let me point out, that at no time, have I ever said Tony is abused or cruelly treated. My issue & that of most advocates for Tony, is simply his living enclosure & it’s site at the truck stop. Please see the videos & sign the petition at the end of this post…thank you!”

GROSSE TETE, La. — The American truck stop is a promise of certain reliable’s  a shower, a warm meal, some small talk at the counter, a 24/7 source of diesel, beef jerky and cigarettes

Tony, a Bengal-Siberian tiger, is kept on the premises at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La. Web sites have been created urging Tony’s removal, letters have been written, and public officials have been lobbied

Tony, a Bengal-Siberian tiger, is kept on the premises at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La. Web sites have been created urging Tony’s removal, letters have been written, and public officials have been lobbied

The truck stop here just west of Baton Rouge offers all those things, but as most southern Louisianians know, it has another less standard feature: a 550-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger.

Tony is only the latest in a line of tigers to live here. Thirteen cubs were born at the truck stop, and several adult tigers brought in, including a white tiger named Salena who died of pancreatic cancer in the early 2000s and is now stuffed and sitting in the Tiger Cafe atop the salad bar.

Tony, who is 12 years old, spends his days draped languidly on top of his cinder-block den or pacing around the grass in his 40-foot-by-80-foot caged enclosure on one side of the parking lot, seemingly as unriveted by the truckers as they are by him. “The enclosure gates have been filmed open many times, but Tony often prefers to paces back & forth in his concrete enclosure. His enclosure may be large for a tiger living in a yard, but size is nothing…it’s what’s in it that makes all the difference. There is nothing for Tony to do nor any natural foliage to make it appear more like his natural habitat. Tony does not have a swimming pool, although Mr. Sandlin has been quoted several times, saying it is a pool; it’s a horse feed trough or something similar. Irrelevant of what it is, it’s way too small for Tony to sit in never mind swim; In all the years I have been advocating for Tony’s move, i have never once seen him dip so much as a toe in that water trough & I’ll bet nobody can find any evidence of him being in it (apart from possibly when he was a young cub)!”

He also appears unmoved by his role at the centre  of a costly and complicated legal dispute, pitting claims of property rights against animal rights and prompting regular news reports about his impending removal. The legal fight has gone on for years. Tony remains.

“It’s become more of a liability than an asset,” said Michael Sandlin, 50, who has run the truck stop for the past 25 years. “But it’s not the money. It’s the principle.

The Tiger Truck Stop has long been a thorn in the paw of animal rights organizations and many animal lovers generally. Web sites have been created urging Tony’s removal, letters have been written, public officials lobbied. Robert Barham, the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, described “cases of mail from every state and a host of foreign countries.” Still, he said, state veterinarians sent to inspect Tony invariably returned with reports of good health. “Good, I’m glad some vets have seen him, but was it a routine check or did he have bloods, scans etc. to check his internal organs are not being effected by the air born fumes? I would sure like to see a copy of that report!”

Matthew Liebman, a lawyer for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, based in California, acknowledged that Tony’s situation was not the worst he had ever seen, though he and others worry about the tiger’s constant exposure to exhaust and diesel fumes.

“The bottom line for us is that tigers don’t belong in truck stops,” Mr. Liebman said. “I think it reflects a pretty commodified, objectifying view of animals that we don’t support — that they are objects of entertainment, that they are gimmicks to sell gasoline.

In 2006, the state passed a law that put limits on “big exotic cat” possession, but allowed anyone who owned such a cat at the time to be grandfathered in. Mr. Sandlin, who had kept tigers here for nearly two decades, was granted a permit for Tony. But in a 2011 trial, lawyers for the animal defense fund showed that a parish law that was on the books in 2006 prohibited keeping exotic animals and argued that he should not have been exempted from the new law. The judge agreed and ordered Mr. Sandlin’s state permit revoked.

Mr. Sandlin, who still has a federal permit, has appealed the decision, and has also filed a separate lawsuit arguing that the state law itself is unconstitutional because it is applied unevenly and leaves too much discretion to enforcement officials.

Still, he has been looking for a retirement home for Tony. This search generated its own outcry when he said he was leaning toward a wildlife park in Oklahoma owned by a man who calls himself Joe Exotic, but whose real name is Joe Schreibvogel.

Mr. Schreibvogel’s park has attracted a good deal of controversy itself and is being investigated by federal officials for 23 tiger cub deaths. Although this was found to be tainted formulae.  But Mr. Sandlin said he believed that it provided good care, and did not trust others to know what was good for Tony. “Now with Joe Exotic becoming bankrupt, how will this effect Tony, will Mr Sandlin still prefer to move him their, will he still be able to move him their or will he choose an accredited sanctuary; which Tony deserves. Joe Exotic has been asking for donations to build Tony an enclosure, for some time now. He has been quoted as saying, it would be off the usual track visitors take, so Tony can be private! Yet Mr. Sandlin say’s Tony is used to noise??? I have just found the same article on Joe Exotics new web page; the name of the park has change to The Garold Wayne interactive Zoological Park:-http://www.gwpark.org/Tony-The-Tiger.php

“He’s used to the noise from the Interstate and the trucks,” Mr. Sandlin said. “He’s used to people coming up here and looking at him.”

“To tear him away from this,” he said, breaking off, then added, “I think it would be very cruel because that’s what he’s used to.”

Mr. Sandlin and his opponents see the world rather differently. The phrase “animal rights activist,” particularly if it means someone who would ban the private ownership of exotic animals, is to Mr. Sandlin a disparagement on its face. (A T-shirt for sale in the truck stop store reads “Animal Rights Activists Taste Like Chicken.”)

But he takes no offence when critics deride him as a purveyor of roadside entertainment. He considers himself an ally of the travelling circuses that occasionally stop here, and he allows the elephants to graze out back. “Why when he has plenty land at the back, did he build the enclosure at the front; if it was not for monetary gain?”

The idea of a tiger truck stop had been his father’s, but opening one here seemed particularly apt given that the mascot of nearby Louisiana State University is a tiger. (The university keeps its own tiger, Mike VI, in an enclosure next to the football stadium.) “Yes, & you want to see his enclosure in fact I will post a video of it at the bottom so you can see the difference!”

So in 1988, Mr. Sandlin arrived from Houston with Toby and Rainbow, he a mostly Bengal mix, she a pure-bred Siberian. In 2000, after the sale of a tiger truck stop owned by Mr. Sandlin’s father in West Texas, Toby and Rainbow were joined by Tony and Salena. “But didn’t Toby & Rainbow end up at a tiger sanctuary?”

In the ensuing years, the United States Department of Agriculture issued several citations to the truck stop, among other things for allowing cubs to run loose around the office. Mr. Sandlin paid a fine and sold all the tigers but Tony.

About 35 people work at the truck stop, including a sister of Michael Sandlin’s; a brother-in-law; a niece; a nephew; Mr. Sandlin’s mother, Virginia, who handles billing; and his domestic partner of 26 years, Scott Holbrook, who is the vice president of the truck stop as well as the video poker manager. “No mention of the person that cares for Tony, cleans his enclosure or feeds him then?”

There is also a middle-aged man named Ray Jackson, who buses tables at the restaurant and who will sing on command. Seeing him outside the Tiger Cafe, Mr. Sandlin said the word and Mr. Jackson stopped immediately and sang “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross.”

“People get a kick out of that,” Mr. Sandlin said.

For now, there is the wait for a ruling. An immediate change is unlikely even then, but as a breed, the tiger truck stop’s days may be numbered.

There are certainly some substandard roadside zoos,” Mr. Liebman said. “But this is the only truck stop tiger I know of.”

News Link:-http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/28/us/truck-stop-tiger-in-louisiana-stirs-legal-battle.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Petition to send Tony to an accredited Sanctuary:http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

News from the Animal Legal Defence Fund on Tony:-http://aldf.org/article.php?id=1675

UPDATE (15) Aug 11, 2011: Mike VI, the LSU Bengal Tiger Mascot’s HABITAT

My dear friend Cloversweed has around 40 videos of Tony, taken personally with no editing. What you see is what you get. Check out the ones that show no water in the so called pool, & the one with a live kitten sat in Tony’s feed area…Cloversweed has captured a lot of evidence to suggest that  a truck stop is not  the right place for a Tiger to live. Please visit her Channel:-http://www.youtube.com/user/cloversweed

Uploaded on 13 Aug 2011

Mike, the LSU Bengal Tiger Mascot taken Aug 11, 2011
Mike the Tiger has one of the finest habitats in the USA. 
Mike’s HISTORY follows, but first please read the NOTE I have posted below concerning Tony, the “truck stop tiger”.

UPDATE #34 (01.22.13):Tony, “the Truck Stop Tiger”- A Trucker’s Opinion.Vid2

Published on 23 Jan 2013

1. NOTE: You will see ALL TONY in Video One and Tony does not look good at all… http://youtu.be/_oW85GzKEWg
PLEASE READ video description in Video ONE.

2. In this video, Video 2 of 2, Tony had just returned back to his concrete bed and this truck driver came over to try to get a picture. This gentleman also expressed his feelings/concerns about Tony’s situation. I found his views interesting.

3.TONY UPDATE: On Tuesday, February 19, 2013 the courts will hear ALDF’s oral arguments in the appeal to free Tony. 
http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2233#….
*Video ONE has been submitted to our ALDF contact and we certainly hope can be used in this hearing.

UPDATE # 35 (01.22.13):Tony, “the Truck Stop Tiger” Vid 1 OF 2

Federal Courts Dismiss Activists’ ‘ALDF’ Anti-Foie Gras Suit

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“How can anyone think, shoving a gavage (pipe or tube) down the esophagus, of geese or ducks then force feeding them with, typically, corn boiled with fat (to facilitate ingestion) so the birds liver becomes over enlarged; so it can then be eaten as a delicacy… is totally beyond me! Of course it’s bloody cruel & barbaric, no other animal that I can think of is force fed via a tube to make any part of their body fatter for human consumption. Yes animals are given extra grain & even growth hormones but they are not force fed it via a bloody pipe…it’s savage & uncalled for; we kill enough animals to meet the demand for meat or other animal body parts! Do we really have to  force feed a bird in constant chronic pain from the tube…just for a delicacy?? What will they come up with next, pickled eyeballs, coated in vinegar daily, to get that perfect crunch?? One could say, this is almost as bad as bear bile being taken from a bear!!

Goose being force-fed so humans can dine on their enlarged livers!!

“Look at the disgusting filthy gavage (pipe) & other equipment; there is no wonder so many birds die of disease. While force feeding is required to meet the French legal definition of “foie gras”, producers outside France do not always force feed birds in order to produce fattened livers that they consider to be foie gras, instead allowing them to eat freely, termed ad libitum. Interest in alternative production methods has grown recently due to ethical concerns in gavage-based foie gras production. Such livers are alternatively termed fatty goose liver, ethical foie gras, or humane foie gras.” Source-Wikipedia

“During feeding, efforts are made to avoid damaging the bird’s esophagus, which could cause injury or death, although researchers have found evidence of inflammation of the walls of the proventriculus after the first session of force-feeding. There is also indication of inflammation of the esophagus in the later stages of fattening. Several studies have also demonstrated that mortality rates can be significantly elevated during the gavage period.”Source Wikipedia

The Animal Legal Defense Fund tried to sue the government to declare force-fed foie gras illegal, and federal courts shut it downInside Scoop SF reports that a lawsuit between the ALDF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture was dismissed on Friday. “Please click on the links to read more!”

The ALDF (the same anti-foie group that sued Napa restaurant La Toque) had argued that foie gras is “a diseased product unfit for human consumption,” and asked the court to step in and order the USDA to “remove foie gras from the American food supply.”

In the ruling (warning: PDF), U.S. District Judge Otis Wright explains his decision to dismiss the case:Plaintiffs‘ voluminous submission of technical papers and data supports the Court’s view that Plaintiffs are challenging a scientific conclusion and not a legal one … this is an issue falling squarely under the USDA’s discretion by law.”

Although selling and producing foie gras is still illegal in California, the ALDF is not entitled to judicial review on this case so, for now, the rest of the country can rest easily knowing their foie is safe. “For those who partake in this delicacy…I hope it fxxxxg chokes you!”

· Court dismisses USDA foie gras lawsuit [Inside Scoop SF]
· All Foie Gras Coverage on Eater [-E-]

News Link:-http://eater.com/archives/2013/03/27/antifoie-gras-case-dismissed.php

Update On Tony The Tiger: Still Held At The Truck Stop

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“Oh poor Tony, when will this end? I’m posting this to show the most recent video of Tony, taken at the truck stop in January 2013; by my dearest friend & animal warrior, Cloversweed from You Tube; aka Mary! Mary has brought the public many videos of Tony, showing the raw truth, uncut videos of Tony, as she finds him on each visit. Many people are under the illusion Tony has been released, due to all the petitions & court cases etc. But sadly, that’s not true…yet! He is still in his cage down in Grosse Tete, Louisiana; Tony’s fate lies in the hands of yet more court proceedings between Mr Sandlin & the ALDF (Animal Legal Defence Fund)”. 

I have been advocating for Tony’s release, along with thousands of other people, for years & have posted many stories of Tony along with Mary’s videos on Care2.com! But I must stress that I am in no way insinuating, nor suggesting, that Tony is or has ever been physically abusedI’m sure Mr Sandlin loves Tony as much as he say’s he does. My issues regarding this subject, are that I do not think a tiger, much less any animal, should live at a truck stop, when the enclosure isn’t far from the diesel pumps! Not only does Tony have to cope with the smell, which must be very strong to a tigers nose, he also has to listen to the constant noise from truckers & cars 24/7! As if that’s not bad enough, the busy free-way runs right behind Tony’s enclosure; which must play havoc with a tigers sensitive hearing!”

Tony

Tony in his enclosure

“I think it’s high time Mr sandlin let Tony go to a more suitable sanctuary now. Especially as Tony approaches his older years; somewhere that is better equipped to give Tony a more peaceful home, that resembles the habitat he would have lived in; had he been born into the wild!”

“Tony has lived alone, in that cage since the tiger he shared it with, Selena, died aged 4 of Cancer. Selena is now stuffed & on display within the truck stop restaurant….not what I would want for one of my beloved pets, but each to their own I guess! As already mentioned,Tigers have magnificent hearing & a great sense of smell…so with the diesel pumps & noise, how can Tony ever get any piece? And who knows if any toxic air particles have caused any damage to Tony’s lungs?”

tigers9

Selena in Tony’s cage; before she died of cancer age 4 & was stuffed & mounted above the salad bar in the truck stop restaraunt.

“In the most recent video (below 2013) taken by Mary; someone shout’s out to her, that the tiger has Cancer! WHAT…could this be true, or was he talking about Selina?? Mr Sandlin has replied to Mary’s question (which is in the About section of the video below) he was quoted as saying “Have your veterinarian call me. I would be happy to let him visually inspect Tony, at your expense of course” Please note, he says VISUALLY INSPECT…how can a vet tell the health of an animal just by looking at it!! That’s not the kind of reply one would expect from someone, who is supposed to love their animal as much as Mr Sandlin say’s he does; is it??”

“Visitors, especially young kids, bang on the wire mesh enclosure, shouting & trying to get Tony’s attention, even throwing objects in to rouse him, Mary has caught this type of stupid activity on her video. However, Mr Sandlin prefers to state in news articles, that it is “Animal Activists” who throw rubbish in at Tony…oh please, how silly!! Just like the post cards Mr Sandlin had made about the Truck stop & Tony, along with the slogan “Animal Activists Taste Like chicken”…Well, not to be deterred, Mary actually rang the restaurant, posing as a member of the public, who wanted to know the meaning of the quote! It is so stupid…it can’t be taken seriously!! See the video below & listen to the conversation between Mary (cloversweed) & some lady at the truck stop restaurant…it’s hilarious!!”

Video: Activist Taste Like Chicken:-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6Oy0rAEex8

“Since this whole story began, I have never seen any kind of veterinary reports that have been made available to the public, regards Tony health status. But what I have seen, is many USDA violations. Mr Sandlin advocates in newspapers & interviews that Tony’s enclosure is so big, that it’s bigger than some zoo’s enclosures etc. that may be true in some small zoo’s!”.

TONY

“But Irrespective of size, that’s not the issue, poor Tony’s enclosure is nothing like a tigers natural habitat. It’s just one long patch of grass with dens at each end… it was bare, until Tony’s plight was thrust into the public eye, a couple of years ago. It’s still bare, apart from a rubber tyre that was hung recently, due to people’s constant negative comments about his enclosure. But there is no video that I know of, nor any of my friends can find, of Tony ever playing with the tyre! Not surprised, he probably has arthritis, muscle atrophy or something similar from never really exercising;all he does is pace & pace, jump on top of his den, jump down, pace…you get the picture??!”

ttt8

“Mr Sandlin also tells porky pies, saying Tony has a swimming pool to swim in…sorry, but that is so far from the truth, it’s a joke; you will see for yourself in the latest video, below & the picture on the right! Does that look like a swimming pool to you?I’ve seen kids paddling pools that are bigger! Tigers out of all the big cats, love to swim, play or just lay in water, but Tony only has a little horse trough filled with water (which has been filmed empty on many occasions during the hottest day’s of the year) I challenge anyone to find proof of Tony, as an adult, getting in that horse trough & swimming! Perhaps to entice Tony to go in, some wooden steps were made (not in the picture) obviously to make his entrance & exit easier…but they wasted the wood & their timeTony hates it, & hates going anywhere near it!”

Tony looking very thin from behind

Tony looks very thin

“Aside from painting the exterior of the cage (which does sod all for Tony’s boredom) nothing else has changed. It wouldn’t have cost much to place some tree logs or foliage, when it was built, would it? His shelter den is supposed to have air conditioning; yet Mary has videos showing a very large fan pointing towards Tony’s shelter, which has been on during very hot days: why need a fan if Tony’s den has air conditioning?; it either doesn’t exist or is broken?”

“Mary has been taking regular video of Tony for some time now; in all, Tony’s health does seem to be declining. At feeding times, Tony doesn’t seem to get meat on the bone, he gets prepared food that looks like a long piece of sausage or a lump of mince. I can’t actually say I have ever seen him eating anything with gusto!!  But what Mary’s videos do show, is that over all the years behind those bars, what a mundane, repetitive & boring life Tony has. Pacing back & forth on the path, worn out over the 12 years he has been in his enclosure; with absolutely nothing to do or stimulate his mind!”

“After noticing a change in Tony’s walk etc. I sent a video of him to a very high-profile animal behaviour expert, who has written many books on animal studies, with the likes of Virginia McKenna OBE.; but whose name I prefer to keep out of this public façade.  He was in agreement that Tony showed stereotypical behaviour; atypical of any animal at a zoo that goes stir crazy, pacing back & forth, through sheer boredom”.

signs-3

“Tony has brought plenty money into the truck stop over the 12 years he has been there. There is even a sign outside his enclosure asking for donations! Isn’t it about time he was set free, to spend his final years at a proper sanctuary, where he can swim in a lake, hide in bushes, sharpen his claws on trees…all the things wild tigers get to do, that those tigers held captive…can only dream about.”

“There are sanctuaries where he could go across America…I’m not talking about G.W Exotics or Big Cat Rescue as I have heard bad reports about both! Besides they are always in conflict with one another! In fact, I’ve just seen in the news, that Joe Exotic has had to pay a very large sum of money to Big Cat Rescue; something to do with copyright of one thing or another! Mr Sandlin has said on many occasions that if he was forced to move Tony, he would let him go to G.W Exotic…oh please, I hope not. He has been asking for donations to build Tony an enclosure! That was the reason for another petition, asking that Tony be sent to a reputable sanctuary. Joe Exotic (just one of his many alias names) hauls tiger cubs around shopping malls, for photo opportunities with the public; there also seems to be an issue with several cubs that died in his care, which J.E said was down to the milk formula. Well if they were not taken from their mothers so early; they wouldn’t need substitute milk would they? A proper accredited sanctuary does not breed it’s inhabitants, to make money! 

I’m talking about sanctuaries like Tiger Haven, The Wild Cat Sanctuary, The Oregon Tiger Sanctuary or even PAWS…where Tony will have fresh air, be able to run, play, swim & act like a tiger should…it’s not a lot to ask for 12 years of service as a slave is it??”

“Below is part 1 of Mary’s most recent video. To see part 2, & many more videos, just click on Mary’s YouTube link below!”

UPDATE (35) January 22 2013 Part 1 of 2

http://www.youtube.com/user/cloversweed

Published on 23 Jan 2013

DATE OF VISIT: Jan 22, 2013 Tues
http://youtu.be/_oW85GzKEWg (Video One)
1. Tony’s appearance begins around the 01:55 minute mark into the video. What the truck driver says prior to this mark has NOT BEEN CONFIRMED TO BE TRUE.

2. Regarding Tony’s health, 2 REPLIES to Facebook from “Sandlin and his team”:

a) This statement received from Mr. Sandlin via his Public Relations person on Jan 24, 2013 Thurs:

“Tony has never been diagnosed with cancer. Tony is doing fine. I have had one tiger that died of Pancreatic Cancer. Salena was just short of 4 years old when she died. She was a white female. Of course, white tigers tend to be more suspect to disease than their counterparts. This is the tiger that the waitress was referring to and Salena is now on display in the restaurant. Also, Tony is not forced to stay on the concrete. He has access to the grassy play area 99% of the time. Thank you for your concern.”

b) THIS IS THE RESPONSE THAT I GET PERSONALLY FROM MR SANDLIN HIMSELF ON Jan 26, Sat:
“Cloversweed, Have your veterinarian call me. I would be happy to let him visually inspect Tony, at your expense of course, and I would also allow him/her to convey any concerns to our Veterinarian, Dr. Shannon Gonsoulin.”

3. This video has been submitted to our ALDF contact and we hope the ALDF can use this video as evidence and argument to the case Feb 19 when the courts hear ALDF’s oral arguments in the appeal to free Tony. 
http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2233#.UQGWxwrbzt0

It is very clear to see Tony needs medical attention. It is no rumour or miscommunication that this video speaks for itself. Anybody else, besides me, notice a significant decline in Tony’s health and well-being? Please comment.

4. COMMENTS POSTED dated Jan 20, 2013 by MistaCruez, referring to my visit Dec 13, 2012, when Tony stayed in his bed all day long. I was at TTS until dark that day. Tony never came out. I must have missed Tony eating breakfast on that day. 

“Hi My name is Travis I live live in Grosse tete my whole life and tony’s been around my whole life and i see tony every day. I love him to death but maybe there’s a time when you have to say bye. What im trying to say is please get him out of here! He looks sicker everyday now he wont even get out his bed. Please Help tony!”

5. VIDEO TWO: a Trucker‘s Opinion; same day Jan 22, 2013
http://youtu.be/RVFzd6jLoTc 

 Please refer to the links below for the most current information regarding Tony’s legal battle to gain freedom to sanctuary:

http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/
http://aldf.org
—————————————————————————-
I did have some difficulty keeping Tony in view because the sun was out and it was so bright, just very hard to see. Video was 1080HD but in process of cropping (to remove the black margin), the quality dropped to 720HD. Makes no difference

“Now look at a video taken last year by Mary. You see Tony eating (he doesn’t look that impressed with it) you also get a good look at his enclosure & so-called pool; which is empty…right before someone asks Cloversweed if she is an animal activist…why no, of course she isn’t :)

UPDATE ( 30) August 8 2012 Part 1 of 2

Another walk through of Tony’s “habitat” 

http://www.youtube.com/user/cloversweed

“Above is Cloversweed AKA Mary’s You Tube Channel, where you can see all the videos she has taken of Tony; including one video where a kitten is actually inside Tony’s enclosure,  tasting bits that Tony must have left in his feeding area! You can hear the alarm in Mary’s voice, thinking that Tony might pounce on the kitten at any moment! But Tony must have been feeling off that day, or just doesn’t have the will to act! He didn’t even attempt to come out of his den to chase the cat; watch the video below!”

Video of kitten in Tony’s enclosure:-

“That just doesn’t sound normal to me, even another tabby cat would have chased another out of its territory; let alone a tiger? To see more of Tony, his behaviour & his enclosure etc. just visit the above link.”

tonysdinner(1)

“Now read the updates…the constant battles between the ALDF & Mr Sandlin. This has been going on for years…Tony is actually at the truck stop illegally & without a permit!! Seriously at this rate, I have my doubts that Tony will ever get out of that cage alive!”

Update: On Tuesday, February 19, 2013 the courts will hear ALDF’s oral arguments in the appeal to free Tony.

The Truck Stops Here…

From the stench of fuel to the drone of diesel engines and the isolation of his roadside prison, Tony, a 12 year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, has endured more than a decade of misery at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. That is why the Animal Legal Defense Fund has taken to the Louisiana courts to free Tony the Tiger from this truck stop nightmare. We won our lawsuit to prevent Tony’s “owner” Michael Sandlin from renewing his permit, but Sandlin appealed, and we are waiting for the Louisiana Court of Appeal to hear the case. Sandlin subsequently filed his own lawsuit to overturn the state’s ban on big cat ownership. ALDF sought to have the case dismissed and is waiting for the trial court to decide if the suit will move forward.

Sandlin has exploited tigers for over 20 years: buying, breeding, selling, and exhibiting tigers in poor conditions for his own profit. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Sandlin’s truck stop in the past for unsanitary feeding practices; mishandling tigers; and failure to provide veterinary care, shelter from inclement weather, clean drinking water, and knowledgeable employees to care for the tigers. In 2003, Sandlin’s animal welfare violations sparked public outcry, and three tigers were removed to a Tennessee sanctuary. The USDA allowed Sandlin to keep one tiger: Tony. He has been alone ever since.

Life at the truck stop is harmful to an animal with such sensitive hearing and acute sense of smell, says veterinarian Jennifer Conrad, who has cared for captive large cats for nearly two decades. After visiting Tony, she declared he is “in poor condition and needs intervention on his behalf.” In addition to exposure to noise and diesel fumes, Tony is taunted by truck stop visitors. His enclosure lacks adequate enrichment. He has no pool of water to cool off in the blazing heat of the summer. As a result of this stressful confinement, Tony constantly paces in his enclosure, putting him at risk for dangerous and painful veterinary conditions.

His suffering demonstrates the problem of privately owned tigers, whose numbers exceed that of wild tigers. There are less than 500 Siberian and only 2,500 Bengal tigers left in the wild. In their natural habitat, tigers live alone, travel many miles to hunt, and avoid humans.

Next Step: We wait while Tony paces

The world waits with bated breath for the results of ALDF’s suit and of Sandlin’s appeal. Meanwhile Tony remains trapped at the truck stop. ALDF’s legal battle for Tony has drawn support from high-profile advocates likeLeonardo DiCaprio and True Blood’s Kristin Bauer van Straten and has galvanized activists around the world. The law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. is providing pro bono assistance.

We are currently waiting for the Louisiana Court of Appeal to hear our case. We are also waiting for the trial court to decide if Sandlin’s suit will move forward. Tony’s fate is tied up in the courts, but ALDF is keeping the pressure on.

The following will give you a better understanding on what has been going on.

We will post updates on Tony’s case as they become available.

All updates can be found on Cloversweed channel & the ALDF website

Petition to ensure Tony goes to a reputable sanctuary, not one that breeds tigers, to sell & to haul the cubs  around shopping malls; for public photo opportunities:- http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

News Link:-http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2233

“Take a look at the following video, this is where I would like Tony to live out the rest of his days, in harmony with nature; as was intended!”

Uploaded on 3 May 2011

Tigers Raja, Tara and Kali playing together in the water and open space of our natural Tiger Island enclosed area at the Oregon Tiger Sanctuary, Eagle Point OR.

Firestone man, 73, sentenced to 9 1/2 years in dogs’ deaths, witness intimidation

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Posted on behalf of mum!

GREELEY — A Weld District judge sentenced a 73-year-old Firestone man to 9 1/2 years in prison for the 2011 fatal poisonings of his neighbor’s two dogs and subsequent intimidation of a witness in the case.

Joseph Losinski appears for sentencing on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, at Weld County District Court in Greeley

Joseph Losinski pleaded guilty to one count of felony aggravated cruelty to animals and one count of intimidating a victim or witness, also a felony, in October. Weld District Judge Todd Taylor said Losinski failed to take responsibility for the crimes and would be a risk to the community if not incarcerated.

The sentence came after the judge listened to arguments that Losinski had so terrorized his neighbors in Firestone that many armed themselves and had installed security cameras.

“This offense seemed to be motivated by cruelty and some sort of sadistic pleasure in causing harm to the dogs and ultimately to their owners, and that is a grave offense,” Taylor said. “That hurts people, that hurts the community, and it is as real as any other crime.”

Losinski fed strychnine-laced meatballs to his neighbors’ dogs — Dozer Boy, a chocolate Labrador; and Kyera, a German shepherd — on Aug. 8, 2011, while they were in their own backyard, according to police reports. Both dogs died. Police reported that the dogs were found about 20 minutes after they had been allowed outside at the home on the 500 block of Fifth Street. Losinski and his neighbors share a fence line.

Losinski used an Alford plea in the case, which means he acknowledged that there was enough evidence to convict him at trial but that he maintained his innocence, according to Weld County District Attorney spokesman Heath Montgomery. The Alford plea is still a guilty plea, he noted.

Losinski and his wife moved to Firestone from Minnesota a few months before Travis and Tesla Dougherty’s dogs were poisoned. The couple had moved in next door only two weeks prior to their dogs’ deaths.

Photos of the crime scene shown in court showed that the dogs died with their muzzles nestled close.

From left: Dog owners Travis and Tesla Dougherty fight to hold back their emotions while listening to statements at the Joseph Losinski sentencing, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, at Weld County District Court in Greeley

Tesla Dougherty said she found the dogs just before Kyera died. She said the dog tried to comfort her even as she died.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Larson said he is client did not kill the dogs and took the plea agreement only to put the case behind him. He said Losinski suffered from cancer and that his wife is entirely dependent on him.

“To incarcerate Mr. Losinski would surely be a death sentence in this case,” he told the judge.

Taylor sentenced Losinski to 18 months in prison for felony aggravated animal cruelty and eight years for felony intimidation of a witness. Taylor said the sentences are to run consecutively because the crimes were distinct and involved different victims.

Court records from 2010 show that a restraining order was filed against Losinski by one of his neighbors in Minnesota. The neighbor told police that Losinski once told him that he used poisoned meat to kill animals on his property. The neighbor also said his cat went missing shortly after he filed harassment charges.

Prosecutor Jennifer Hill argued that Losinski was terrorizing his Firestone neighbors just as his former Minnesota neighbors said he terrorized them. His former neighbors believed he poisoned animals and tossed the bodies of slaughtered animals in their yards after disputes. She said investigators found Internet postings in which Losinski offered instructions on poisoning animals and how to fake innocence.

Taylor said he did not have much hope for Losinski rehabilitating.

Losinski also sent a threatening letter to a neighbor of the Doughertys who was a witness in the case, according to the Weld County District Attorney’s Office

News Link:-http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_22179048/firestone-man-73-sentenced-dogs-deaths-joseph-losinski?source=most_viewed

 

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