The long battle on keeping Tony the Tiger has now come to its end this month. The Supreme Court has denied the bid on keeping Tony at a Truck stop in Louisiana.
Tony the Tiger has been kept on grounds at the Gross Tete Louisiana truck stop since 2000. However in 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sued the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries for allowing this to happen. The Wildlife and Fisheries sector has given Michael Sandlin a permit to keep and exhibit Tony at the truck stop.
On the 19th of February 2012, Sandlin appealed to the Supreme Court to keep Tony at the truck stop, and three judge panels in Baton Rouge heard his appeal. Sandlin has sued the estate of Louisiana and Iberville Parish from prohibiting “anyone from owning wild, exotic or vicious animals for display or exhibition.”
In April, the Supreme Court has supported ALDF claims that it is cruel for Sandin to keep the animal in such a small cage. A verdict then to stop the Wildlife and Fisheries from issuing new permits to the truck stop has been delivered.
Sandlin claimed that there was a mistake in the court ruling, since the court ruling whether to keep Tony or not has yet to be decided, but the battle goes on. Much commentary about Tony is widespread, including actual truck drivers siding with the court and animal advocates to remove Tony from the truck stop. Some bloggers even suggested that the sanctuary in Florida might be a better home for the Siberian Tiger.
After the court’s ruling to deny issuing Sandlin any new permit and after revoking his permit, another group has supported the claims of Sandlin. One of those who stood and spoke out was owner-operator Gordon Alkire who said:
“So you think that Tony the tiger is in bad health, in an unsafe environment and should be removed. This is no different than removing a child from its home because of a busybody neighbor that reads something from nothing and never even had a child. It is life-altering for the child. The same can be said of the tiger. But it can’t speak and tell you it is unhappy or stubbed its toe, so it is taken care of the best way it can be. This tiger gets regular vet visits, real food — not the ground stuff your pets eat — and enjoys the attention. It is not alone. Tony has fresh air, a space of his own, not like in a zoo or a carnival.”
“I have a suggestion for the anti-Tiger enthusiasts. Pay attention to your surroundings and go after the drivers and dog owners that mistreat their animals. How about the drivers that have 100-pound-plus dogs in a six-by-eight-foot cab and only take them out for short walks to do their business and rush them back into the cab again. That is mistreatment of animals, as a dog this size needs room to grow and stay active. Or what about the drivers who think using a stick to beat a dog to make it mind is OK? I’ve seen it happen.”
“Tony has been in this truck stop for more than 10 years, and only in the last two or three has this action to remove him surfaced.”
“Among all these non-experts, including some truckers, the biggest are those who begin to think they are experts in tiger care and truck stop management and demand Tony’s removal while knowing absolutely nothing about the situation, all the while refusing to listen to both sides of the problem. It is time to give it a rest. Leave Tony alone.”