POSTED: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 1:02pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 9:37am
Baton Rouge, La (NBC33) — The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries stating that they violated state law in granting a permit allowing a Siberian-Bengal tiger to be displayed at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La.
“Tony the Tiger” has been at the truck stop since 2000; he has lived there with no other tiger companions since 2003.
Joining ALDF as a co-plaintiff in the case is former Louisiana Representative Warren Triche, who authored the state’s law which led to the ban on the private ownership of big exotic cats, including tigers.
The law offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. are providing pro bono assistance with the lawsuit.
Tony is subjected to noise and diesel fumes 24-hours a day, and is frequently harassed and taunted by visitors at the truck stop. His cage has no logs, trees, or complex vegetation that would allow him to engage in natural tiger behaviors. He has no pool of water large enough to allow him to submerge himself to cool off in the blazing heat of the summer.
As a result of the stress of his confinement, Tony constantly paces on the hard concrete surface of his enclosure, putting him at risk for dangerous veterinary conditions.
“Louisiana has explicit regulations designed to protect tigers like Tony, and the Department has disregarded state law and misused taxpayer money in arbitrarily granting the permit that allows Michael Sandlin to keep Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We will keep fighting until Tony is no longer subjected to diesel fumes, harassment, and the unimaginable suffering of life in his lonely cage.”
NBC33 contacted the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and that they had not received a copy of the lawsuit as of yesterday and could not comment on pending litigation.