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

‘Joe Exotic’ Files For Bankruptcy Protection After Court Ruling

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“There are 2 news pieces in this post! Now, just about everybody knows Mr. Michael Sandlin, who owns & displays Tony ‘The truck stop tiger in Louisianan  Animal advocates, the ALDF & Mr Sandlin have been at the centre of a costly court case concerning Tony. Advocates say a truck stop is not a good place for a tiger to live, which I agree with! I have posted several videos of Tony, taken by my good friend Mary! But what does this have to do with Joe Exotic; who has just filed bankruptcy??

Well, Sandlin is a good friend of Joe Schreibvogel & last year, Sandlin was quoted as saying “if he was forced to move ‘Tony the truck stop tiger’ he would send him to G.W Exotics ( now called G.W. Zoo ) So I was wondering, if it actually came down to Mr Sandlin having to move Tony the tiger, would he still go to Joe Exotics?? I don’t know what the legal stance would be, moving yet another tiger into a zoo, with a lawsuit hanging over their head? G.W. Exotics were even asking for donations, to build Tony a suitable enclosure!! 

Just six weeks after a federal judge ordered him to pay a Florida animal sanctuary nearly $1 million to settle a lawsuit, a Wynnewood man who goes by the name Joe Exotic has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

Joe Schreibvogel, who also goes by the names Aarron Alex and Cody Ryan, lists debts totaling $1.2 million, most of which are traceable to the judgment handed down in February by a judge in Florida.

Schreibvogel, who operated what is now the G.W. Zoo in Wynnewood from the late 1990s until February, in court records lists assets of $127,739. Roughly half of that total is in the form of vehicles used to run the animal park.

Schreibvogel lists 43 tigers and five black bears as personal property. Records show the carnivores are worth an “unknown” sum of money.

Schreibvogel also owes more than $30,000 to attorneys who worked on the trademark infringement case, records show.

An affidavit signed by Schreibvogel and filed in federal court states he “became unemployed on Feb. 26, 2013, and I am not receiving any monthly income.”

During a recent interview with The Oklahoman, Schreibvogel said he would file for bankruptcy protection because he didn’t have the roughly $1 million the judge in Florida ordered him to pay the owners of Big Cat Rescue.

Schreibvogel and Big Cat Rescue founder Carole Baskin have been publicly feuding for years over their philosophical differences on the exotic pet trade.

The suit involved Schreibvogel’s use of logos and images that were similar to those created and owned by the Florida animal park.

In the suit, attorneys for Big Cat Rescue alleged Schreibvogel and his associates launched a “counter-campaign of disinformation, misinformation and disparagement” aimed at damaging the credibility of the Florida organization.

The sanctuary’s lawyers claimed Schreibvogel used a logo and other artistic elements “confusingly similar” to materials trademarked by Big Cat Rescue.

Schreibvogel admits he did model a logo for Big Cat Rescue Entertainment — one of the many businesses he’s formed over the years — after the Florida sanctuary’s design, but said he didn’t realize it was wrong to do so.

“We thought we were in the clear,” he said. “We thought they only owned ‘Big Cat Rescue’ with a cat jumping over it.”

Schreibvogel, known for performing magic shows and bringing tiger cubs to shopping malls for paid photographs with the public, said a new company is running the G.W. Zoo. He said he will continue to house his animals at the facility, just off Interstate 35 in Wynnewood.

“They’re my animals … I’m still licensed to exhibit,” he said. “By law, I do not have to be a (business) to exhibit.”

Latest update:-http://newsok.com/article/3779178

WYNNEWOOD, Okla., April 3 (UPI) — An Oklahoma man who goes by the name “Joe Schreibvogel or Joe Exotic” filed for bankruptcy after being ordered to pay nearly $1 million to settle a trademark infringement lawsuit.

Joe Schreibvogel also known as Joe Exotic of Wynnewood said he has debts amounting to $1.2 million, most of which are attributable to a judgment filed against him in February by a federal judge in Florida, The (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman reported Wednesday.

He also owes in excess of $30,000 in attorney’s fees for the trademark case.

From the late 1990s until February, Schreibvogel operated what is now the G.W. Zoo in WynnewoodThe Oklahoman reported. He listed assets valued at vehicles and other assets of $127,739, plus 43 tigers and five black bears as personal property, which are worth an “unknown” amount, the newspaper said.

The trademark infringement case stems for a feud between Schreibvogel and Big Cat Rescue founder Carole Baskin in Florida. The case involved Schreibvogel’s use of images and logos similar to those designed and owned by Big Cat Rescue.

Schreibvogel said he modeled a logo for one of his businesses, Big Cat Rescue Entertainment, after the Florida business’ logo, but said he didn’t realize he did not have the right to do so.

News Linkhttp://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/04/03/Trademark-infringement-case-bankrupts-man/UPI-16251365025565/#ixzz2PS9WFnTi

Tony the Tiger Contracted to Move to G.W. Exotic Animal Park:-http://world.einnews.com/247pr/250750

Just a reminder to continue to share Tony’s change.org petition which is nearing 25,000:-http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

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 SiberianBengal 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.

AUG 8, 2012 Two latest Videos – ‘Tony’ The Truck Stop Tiger Grosse Tete, LA

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My dear friend & animal warrior, Mary aka cloversweed on You Tube, has kindly shared her most recent videos of Tony. One thing I must point out,  is that Mary points, shoots, uploads…no editing, no fancy frills…just video showing Tony! Mary has no script, no notes, nothing pre-prepared, so listening to her commentary is a must! When she leaves, it’s obviously heartbreaking, as one never knows what stunt Michael Sandlin will pull next. He has said that if he is forced to move Tony, he will send him to Joe Exotic, which is not what’s best for Tony! Tony is at the truck stop without a permit!

We are not saying Tony is abused, it is the environment he lives in that people take exception to! His cage is large but nothing to entertain Tony, no shrubbery to hide in, no tree logs to scratch or climb on, no swimming pool..although Mr Sandlin has quoted ‘he has a pool to swim in’ on several sites & news articles…well you can clearly see that so called pool…it’s a horse trough, Mary has filmed it empty on several occasions! Makes no difference, if it was full of water, never seen any evidence of Tony in it, probably because he wouldn’t fit! Tony has no enrichment, just the constant noise & smell of the truck stop! It is just no place for a lonely tiger, or any other animal, breathing in diesel fumes for 12 years…who knows if it has done any damage to his internal organs!

“The 2 most recent videos of Tony The Truck Stop Tiger, taken by cloversweed on You Tube”

Published on 8 Aug 2012 by 

FREE TONY, THE TRUCK STOP TIGER – Part One
(AUGUST 8, 2012 WED) 
GROSSE TETE, LA
UPDATE # 30 (Part One of Two)

“Part of the video dialogue – Classic Mary!!”

2. 02:40 – Paul, Michael Sandlin’s nephew, approaches and asks me if I am “one of those animal activists”. Well, no, I replied, I am “one of those tourists”. And then Paul begins to tell me, again, (Paul has talked with me before & I have heard this “story” before from Paul about this “woman on the Internet that posts all these LIES about Tony.” I have no idea who that woman is. Surely, it is not me, for my videos tell the story, even without my words, really they do.I am witness & so are you to what transpires during these visits.) I reminded Paul that he & I have talked before & that I visit Tony frequently on my trips to Baton Rouge & I also asked Paul if he would like to stay by my side the entire time.He said that was OK.Paul then begins to spray down Tony’s cage,opens the gate so Tony may exit the cage.THIS IS WHEN WE FIRST SEE TONY @ 06:25.Paul closes the gate, so that Paul may enter the cage & places Tony’s breakfast out.And then Tony re-enters to eat.(This is about 9.45-10.00AM or perhaps even later.But, it was not early morning.This was much later than usual for I did not leave from this morning visit until close to noon.)

Published on 8 Aug 2012 by 

FREE TONY, THE TRUCK STOP TIGER – Part Two
(AUGUST 8, 2012 WED) 
GROSSE TETE, LA
LIVE FOOTAGE, RAW & UNEDITED
UPDATE # 31 (Part Two of Two)

Mary’s You Tube account has all her videos of Tony, along with with all the information about Tony & the courts etc. http://www.youtube.com/user/cloversweed

Read the latest from ALDF:-http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2023

This is a great site:-Making Sense of the Current Status of the Tony the Tiger Cases:-http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2053#

LINKS FOR MORE INFO:
– http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/ ALWAYS CURRENT
– http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/links-for-tony/
– http://aldf.org/article.php?id=1675 more info
– http://aldf.org/

Petition – LDWF: Ensure Tony The Tiger Is Released To A Reputable Sanctuary:-http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

A truck stop is no home for a tiger

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“This is posted as is from an email to me from the ALDF. Please click on any links…”

Tony, a SiberianBengal tigerSTILL paces on the hard concrete surface of his cage. He has spent every day and night of the last eleven years on display at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana – nearly his whole life. It’s no life for a tiger, or any other animal.

That’s why, despite all legal obstacles, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is tireless in our fight to make sure that Tony finds his way to a reputable, accredited sanctuary where he can live out his life in a nurturing environment, rather than one that exploits him as a profitable spectacle. Help us raise $250,000 during our 2012 Annual Fund Drive and join our fight to free Tony!

ALDF is currently involved in three separate lawsuits concerning Tony—a no holds barred effort to free him from the miserable conditions he’s forced to endure day and night. ALDF’s victory last year against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries prevented the Department from renewing the annual permit that allowed Michael Sandlin, owner of Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop, to display Tony.

However, the Department has refused to seize Tony until Mr. Sandlin’s own lawsuit against the Department has resolved. Once Mr. Sandlin’s case is over, the Department should do its duty by acting quickly to ensure Tony’s removal to a humane sanctuary.

We are optimistic that we will prevail, and the court will uphold Louisiana’s right to protect public safety and animal welfare by prohibiting private possession of majestic animals like Tony.

Your support makes our fight for Tony possible! Join ALDF in fighting for Tony’s freedom — freedom from diesel fumes, harassment, and the unimaginable suffering of life in his lonely cage.

ADI Tony the tiger news:http://aldf.org/article.php?id=1675

 “I have long been fighting for Tony’s release to a more suitable sanctuary, because I don’t think a truck stop is the right environment for a tiger, nor any other animal. Breathing in air suffused with diesel particles for 11 years, can’t be good for the lungs of man nor beast. Tony has never had a full vet check up that we know of, if he has, I wouldn’t mind seeing the proof…so poor Tony may well be suffering in silence !”

“I personally have never suggested the move due to animal abuse; more animal welfare. Tony has lived in a barren cage for 11 years, yet it is only this past year that Mr. Sandlin made slight improvements  to the enclosure. A paint make over & hanging an old tyre are not what I would call requisite improvements. The enclosure may well be a little larger than some captive tigers are forced to live in, but what use is size if it resembles little of  the animals natural habitat, nor have any enrichment to stimulate his mind!”

I do so wish Mr Sandlin would stop referring to the horse trough filled with water, as  ‘Tony’s swimming pool, as I read in an article the other day! It has been documented via video that it has been empty of water on especially hot days. However, it doesn’t really matter, they might as well take it out, Tony has never cooled off in it, tigers of his breed love to be in water. It could be that it is too small for Tony, or he has had a bad experience with it in the past, I bet you can’t find any documented video evidence of Tony either in the horse trough or even dipping a toe in!

“Come on Mr Sandlin, if you really love Tony as you say you do, let him go. Let his last years be lived out at a sanctuary, where he can play among foliage in large grassy acres, jump into a proper pool or lake to cool off like all tigers of his breed love. A Place where he can have something to stimulate his brain, toys to play with, everything that he hasn’t got now! Can you imagine how bored stiff that tiger must be? Nothing to do for 11 years except stare to stare back at the public gazing in. Tony has paid his due’s, I’ll bet he has brought in plenty dollars through either the dinner or the Tony paraphernalia sold within.

Please don’t send Tony to just another cage, where he is gawpt at by the public, he deserves more! I think somewhere like The Wildcat Sanctuary, would be perfect for Tony! Watch the video & see how these abused, abandoned or unwanted cats live…Tony would love it, no smell of diesel, no public shouting at him, banging on the fencing, trying to annoy him…just fresh air, good food, hospital on site,  lots of toys to play with & a decent sized pool to cool off in…Tony will never be free to roam in the wild, but this is as close as it can get!

The Wildcat Sanctuary – a natural safe haven for over 100 big cats

The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS) is a 501c3 non-profit, no-kill big cat rescue located in Sandstone, MN. TWS provides a natural sanctuary to wild cats in need and inspires change to end the captive wildlife crisis. TWS is funded solely on private donations. The Sanctuary is a home for animals, not a zoo for people and is not open to the public. Combining natural and spacious habitats with a life free of exhibition and exploitation, TWS allows all residents to live wild at heart. As a true sanctuary, we do not buy, breed, sell or exhibit animals.

They will never know freedom, but with your help they can know compassion. Learn more at WildcatSanctuary.org.

Judge won’t order truck stop tiger’s removal

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A state judge has refused to order the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to remove an 11-year-old tiger from a truck stop in Grosse Tete.

Judge Michael Caldwell ruled Thursday that he cannot order the executive branch to do that. He also ruled that the Animal Legal Defense Fund and two plaintiffs don’t have legal standing to bring up the question.Tony

“There is no legal means for a private citizen to go to a court and ask the judge to order another branch of government to perform what is essentially a discretionary function,” said Jennifer Treadway Morris, attorney for Michael Sandlin and his Tiger Truck Stop Inc.

Lisa Franzetta, spokeswoman for the nonprofit group, said it was considering whether to appeal Thursday’s decision.

In November, Caldwell ordered the department to revoke the permit for a tiger at Tiger Truck Stop.

ALDF sued last month, saying the department refused to confiscate the animal from the truck stop and its owner, Michael Sandlin, because it has appealed Caldwell’s November decision and Sandlin had challenged the constitutionality ofLouisiana’s ban on private ownership of big cats.

“In no way does today’s ruling affect the judge’s previous ruling that Michael Sandlin and Tiger Truck Stop can’t be granted a permit to keep Tony,” Franzetta said. “We were trying to speed up the process of getting Tony away from the truck stop.”

Treadway Morris and attorneys for the Animal Legal Defense Fund will be back in State District Court on Monday. Judge Janice Clark has scheduled a hearing on the group’s request to intervene in Sandlin’s lawsuit.

ALDF files suit against LDWF regarding case of Tony The Truck Stop Tiger

Comments Off on ALDF files suit against LDWF regarding case of Tony The Truck Stop Tiger

BATON ROUGE, LA — This morning, Thursday, April 5, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit to force the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to enforce Louisiana’s big cat ban in the case of Tony, Grosse Tete’s “truck stop tiger.”

Michael Sandlin’s permit to keep Tony, an eleven-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, expired in December. The ALDF claims that because the tiger still remains in the confines of the truck stop, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is in violation of state law.

“The state of Louisiana has explicit regulations designed to protect tigers like Tony, and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is required to enforce them” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The court has already granted Tony and ALDF a victory by ruling that Michael Sandlin’s permit to display Tony was illegal. Sandlin, now without a permit, cannot be allowed to continue to exploit this tiger with impunity.”

In addition ALDF along with two Louisiana residents filed a petition to intervene in Sandlin’s current lawsuit against the state. The law offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. are providing pro bono assistance with the lawsuit and the petition to intervene

“Take a look at the video below, it show’s how deplorable Tony’s living conditions were. Obviously since then, court appearances & media stories have catapulted Tony’s plight into the public eye & to those who care about animal welfare. Tony’s living conditions haven’t changed much to date, except for a bit of new fencing, a new paint job & a rubber tyre being hung! Not much for a tiger that Mr. Sandlin says is ‘he loves, like one of the family’ is it??”

 

via ALDF files suit against LDWF regarding case of ‘truck stop tiger’ | NBC33 | WVLA.

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