The Animals at Animaland Zoo Have a New Home, Thanks To ALDF!

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“Here’s an email I’m eager to share with you, I’m so relieved these animals are now safe!!” But there is so much more work to be done to free animals from dilapidated road side zoo!!”

 Animaland Zoo Shut Down For Good

Dear Julie,

Now they have grass under their paws, clean water, companionship, enrichment and veterinary care. At last, thanks to the Animal Legal Defense Fund and your support,the animals once held at Animaland Zoo in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania will get the lives they deserve. With you by our side, we sued the roadside zoo for violating the Endangered Species Act and state wildlife laws. In the face of our lawsuit, Animaland settled with us and shut down. We were able to step in and choose new locations for Bear the wolf and the two black bears, Shawn and Sandy.

Let’s celebrate this together—your continued support of the Animal Legal Defense Fund empowers us to litigate these victories for animals.

Help Us Rescue Other Animals in Captivity

All of the animals at Animaland were suffering physically and psychologically. Sandy and Shawn were forced to share a concrete enclosure for 17 years. Almost two decades in a cell hardly big enough for the bears to move in. Thanks to our lawsuit and logistical support from the sanctuary team at Lions Tigers & Bears, Sandy and Shawn are now living at Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, a Texas sanctuary where they’ll have the freedom they need.

We also found a safe place for Bear the wolf to live out the rest of his life. Bear was lethargic at Animaland, a pack animal in agonizing solitude. After being nowhere near others of his kind for years, Bear is now safe at the Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania, where he is exploring lush vegetation amongst other wolves.

Your generous support helped save Bear, Shawn, Sandy and other animals from Animaland. The tax deductible donation you make today can help us find happy endings for even more animals.

We would also like to thank the law firm Baker Hostetler in Philadelphia for their invaluable pro bono assistance with this case.

Every day, the Animal Legal Defense Fund fights to protect animals, and victories like this one are the reason we never give up.

For the animals,

Stephen Wells
Executive Director

Many more animals need out help, Please visit:;jsessionid=A985D6881533F73B3E5089D7711F864B-n4?donate_page_KEY=14317&okay=true

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

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:

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  :- 

Published on 10 Jan 2013 – Tiger & Lion Act:-

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

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:-

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:-

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:-

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:-

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:

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:

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:-

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:-

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:

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