The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit on Thursday against
Lousiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to have
Tony, the 11-year-old tiger who's been living on display at the Tiger
Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La., moved to a sanctuary.
sued the LDWF and its secretary Robert Barham on Tony's behalf last year
arguing that granting Tony's owner, Michael Sandlin, a permit in the first
place violated state law. Judge R. Michael Caldwell granted the ALDF's
request for a permanent injunction against the LDWF, preventing them from
renewing the annual permit that allows Sandlin to keep Tony.
Unfortunately that decision was
overturned because Sandlin was not part of the lawsuit. In November
Judge Caldwell ordered the LDWF to
revoke Michael Sandlin's permit to keep Tony and bar him from obtaining
another permit in the future. Tony's advocates, who have been fighting this
issue for years, cheered the decision -- it seemed like he would finally be
Oddly enough, Sandlin's permit expired at the end of
December, yet Tony is still stuck in his concrete prison because Sandlin
appealed the decision and nothing can be done until the appeals process is
The ALDF's new lawsuit is seeking to have the LDWF report
Sandlin to local law enforcement for violating a 2006 ban on private
ownership of big cats, which Sandlin is currently challenging.
state of Louisiana has explicit regulations designed to protect tigers like
Tony, and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is required to enforce
said Stephen Wells, ALDF's Executive Director.
'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,'' he said.
Sandlin loses his appeal, he will have 30 days to move Tony to a sanctuary