Speak Out for Tony the Truck Stop Tiger!
  • Petitioned Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries

This petition was delivered to:

Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries

Speak Out for Tony the Truck Stop Tiger!

    1. Petition by

      Animal Legal Defense Fund

November 2011


A couple years ago, animal lovers who learned that Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, had an actual tiger on the property began to fight to free Tony to a sanctuary. People from across the country started petitions on Change.org for a boycott of Tiger Truck Stop and to ask the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries not to renew the permit that kept Tony behind bars. They gathered thousands of supporters and created Facebook and Twitter accounts to get Tony's story out in the open.

It worked, attracting celebrities and animal advocates to speak out for Tony. And in fall 2010, the Animal Legal Defense Fund took a look at Tony's situation and found that the permit keeping him at Tiger Truck Stop never should have been issued because it violated local and state laws around big cat ownership.

ALDF took the state of Louisiana to court. They also started a new petition on Change.org in support of their case, asking LDWF to revoke Tiger Truck Stop's permit. They quickly gained more than 12,000 signatures and, after winning in court only to be sent back to the beginning of the process with an amended complaint, on November 2, 2011, Judge Michael Caldwell ruled in favor of the ALDF and Louisiana taxpayers.

LDWF now has to revoke the current permit and cannot issue any more to Tiger Truck Stop. Animal Legal Defense Fund and Tony's supporters are working to make sure Tony gets released to a reputable sanctuary.

Your help is still needed!

Join the Animal Legal Defense Fund in urging the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries toimmediately revoke the permit that allows Michael Sandlin to display Tony, a ten-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, where he has lived with no other tiger companions since 2003.

On April 11, 2011, ALDF filed a lawsuit against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and its secretary Robert Barham, arguing that he violated state law in granting a permit allowing Sandlin to exhibit Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop. On May 6th, ALDF won its lawsuit, preventing the Department from renewing the annual permit that allows Sandlin to display Tony. When the current permit expires in December 2011, Sandlin will no longer be able to keep Tony confined as a roadside exhibit at the truck stop where he has languished for over a decade. However, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has the power to revoke this permit today—meaning that Tony need not suffer until Sandlin’s current permit expires in December. Your support is still need to urge the state of Louisiana to free Tony immediately!

In addition to being subjected to noise and diesel fumes 24-hours a day, Tony is also frequently harassed and taunted by visitors at the truck stop. His enclosure is devoid of adequate enrichment, such as 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 and painful veterinary conditions. Michael Sandlin, the owner of Tony and the truck stop, has been cited by the USDA due to violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including a lack of proper sanitation and improper feeding practices. 

Join the Animal Legal Defense Fund in urging the state of Louisiana to immediately revoke the permit that allows Tony to be kept at the Tiger Truck Stop—a permit that violates both state and local ordinances designed to protect people and wild animals like Tony.

Sign the petition to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries now!

Recent signatures


    1. Good news from Tony's legal team:

      Judge Caldwell agreed with ALDF’s argument that the permit that allows Sandlin to keep Tony was unlawfully issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The judge ordered the Department to revoke the current permit and prohibited it from issuing any new permits to the Truck Stop. “We are thrilled that the court made the right decision,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We will continue to do everything we can to make sure Tony’s next home is a reputable, accredited sanctuary that can give Tony the life he deserves.”

    2. Tony back in court today

      ALDF continues the legal fight for Tony's freedom today. “The Animal Legal Defense Fund is confident that the trial court got the law right the first time around and will again make the best decision for Tony,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We would like nothing more than for Tony to spend this New Year’s in the comfort of an accredited sanctuary that is far better equipped to meet his basic needs and to give him the kind of life he deserves.”

    3. New hearings scheduled in Tony's case

      On Oct. 17th, the court will hear the State's exceptions, which challenge the plaintiffs' standing to bring the case. On Nov. 2nd, the court will hear ALDF's motion for a permanent injunction to revoke Tiger Truck Stop's exotic animal permit.

    4. Reached 10,000 signatures
    5. Tony's Case Goes Back to Square One, Update from ALDF

      The Louisiana Court of Appeals ruled that Michael Sandlin is a necessary party to the case, and ALDF needs to amend its original complaint and head back to court. ALDF is confident this won't change the outcome, but we need to keep fighting for Tony!

    6. Reached 8,000 signatures
    7. Judge says truck stop owner can't intervene in the ongoing legal proceedings about Tony the tiger:

    8. Tiger Truck Stop just released a propaganda video, full of false claims, such as saying Tony will be isolated at a sanctuary, that he's not exposed to fumes (with a gas station on one side and a highway in the background), and that activists have thrown cigarette packs in his cage to make him sick. Keep speaking out for Tony ... No amount of PR can hide the fact that tigers don't belong at truck stops!

    9. ALDF recently filed a motion for a mandatory injunction that would compel the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the current permit and seize Tony—meaning that Tony would not have to wait until December to experience his new life beyond the Tiger Truck Stop.

      Although this specific request was part of ALDF’s original complaint, the court did not rule on it at the hearing last month. A new hearing on the motion for a mandatory injunction has been set for June 14.

    10. Check out ALDF's Frequently Asked Questions about Tony's status after the court victory:

    11. Success! Louisiana Truck Stop Loses Permit Renewal for Caged Tiger

      Last week, the Animal Legal Defense Fund reported that a judge in East Baton Rouge District Court ruled that Tiger Truck Stop, owned by Michael Sandlin, has seen its last permit to keep Tony the tiger on display. Although the court did not revoke the...

    12. via ALDF's Twitter: "VICTORY FOR TONY! Sandlin's permit will not be renewed in December. #FreeTonyTiger"

    13. Reached 5 signatures
    14. Details on tomorrow's hearing: Thursday, May 5, 9:00am
      Where: East Baton Rouge District Courthouse, Judge R. Michael Caldwell’s courtroom, 300 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge

    15. The Fight for Tony the Truck Stop Tiger Heads to Court

      For Tony, the Siberian-Bengal tiger who spends his days as a roadside attraction at a Louisiana truck stop, this week feels as dismal as any other. But Tony's advocates hope this week will mark the beginning of the end of his captivity.
      On May 5, the...

    16. ALDF is in court for Tony this week! Please show your support by signing and sharing.

    17. Award-winning actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio is the latest high-profile supporter to join the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s campaign to free Tony. Yesterday, Leo wrote to his 1.5 million Facebook supporters (

      "Have you heard about Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger living at a truck stop in Louisiana? This tiger has been living in a small inadequate and inhumane enclosure alone since 2003. We need to help the Animal Legal Defense Fund in urging the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the permit that allows this."

      The star of Titanic, The Aviator, and Inception also reached out to his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers @LeoDicaprio, tweeting his support for Tony.

    18. Reached 4 signatures
    19. Animal protection group sues over live tiger display at truck stop

    20. Reached 3 signatures
    21. Animal Legal Defense Fund Sues for Truck Stop Tiger's Freedom

      In her latest PSA to help animals, actress Kristin Bauer says, "My character, the vampire Pam on True Blood, fends for herself just fine in her unlikely Louisiana home. But for one wild animal in particular, Louisiana is that last place on earth he...

    22. Reached 500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • jone gagnon NYC, NY
      • almost 3 years ago

      this is way over due.come on people revoke the permit now.that is doing the right thing.the cat is to be moved at the end of the month why wait?doesn't benefit the Tiger and that is what you were elected to do,do your job,you haven't for all these yrs!

    • Susie Korosi ELWOOD, AUSTRALIA
      • almost 3 years ago

      Poor dear Tony - hasn't he suffered enough at the hands of that greedy pig Sandlin? Tony needs FREEDOM, not IMPRISONMENT!

    • valda purvis CALOUNDRA, AUSTRALIA
      • almost 3 years ago

      These exotic animals ,do not belong in a shed or someones back yard ,they should be in their own natural habitat,no zoo's or circus,we can see them in the wonderful documentaries that are available,they are on the endangered list and should be protecred from-man.

    • Amy Warren KAUFMAN, TX
      • almost 3 years ago

      Wild animals belong IN THE WILD! It is so selfish and stupid to keep an animal like this in "jail" for people to look at! The tiger will probably go nuts someday and maul the owner for confining him!

    • Jennifer Webb MAYNARD, MA
      • almost 3 years ago

      The recent tragedy in Ohio is an example of why this Tiger should not be caged at a truck stop. Since 2003 he has been forced to live in a very unnatural environment in downright abhorrent conditions, he is poorly cared for, and is routinely subjected to abusive human interaction. And obviously the risk to human life is also present. I am urging you not to support behavior that degrades and tortures this majestic creature, and also places human life at risk...all in the name of novelty and amusement. Every day is one more too many. Please revoke this permit NOW!


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