Stop Abuse of Tony the TruckStop Tiger at Iberville Parish, Louisiana, USA
Why is there a live tiger in a tiny cage next to the gas pumps in this 24 hour truck stop at Grosse Tete?
Because the Iberville Parish doesn't want to enforce their own rules against "one of their own." Indeed they have amended their own laws (Feb 2009) in an attempt to 'legalise' the immoral caging of this tiger.
Noxious fumes and the sound of the dieseling trucks are deafening and unrelenting. There are flood light's on the tiger's cage so that he never has a minute of darkness and never gets a moment of peace from those who yell at him and throw things at him to make him move. We have tried to convince the Iberville Parish that the right thing to do is let the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries send Tony the tiger to Big Cat Rescue. Instead they amended their ban so that they can justify not enforcing it. They need to hear from you.
History of the last council meeting where it was voted 1-11 to keep Tony caged, but with conditions imposed upon Tony's 'owner' Michael Sandlin.
At the parish council meeting held in February 2009 the following rules were imposed upon the owner, Michael Sandlin - see below - but to date no visible physical improvements have been made to the tiger's caged environment, apart from one wall being repainted.
As Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. insisted on those and other improvements as a condition for allowing Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin to keep the animal, we find it very disturbing that this situation is allowed to continue. The revised ordinance, like the previous one, exempts Sandlin from having to comply with an old parish law that prohibits an individual from keeping any "wild, exotic, vicious animal or reptile for display or for exhibition purposes.
The ordinance approved on that Tuesday set guidelines for the tiger's care that weren't in the version the council approved last month. The Iberville Parish Council voted late that Tuesday to require a larger pool for the 550-pound, Siberian-Bengal tiger, and rubber sleeping mats for its cage and heaters for the winter.
NOTE: One of the new requirements that the council approved shows their complete ignorance of tigers. They have required rubber mats to be installed in Tony's den, and that will kill him. Tigers can eat tires and many have died from doing so as their owners think it is a cheap toy for them. The rubber cannot be digested and will often become stuck in the stomach or intestines until it ruptures through the sidewall and causes massive internal hemorrhaging.
Ask those who imposed such a rule to change the requirement from rubber mats to earthen floors. There is no way to make a concrete or wooden floor comfortable for a tiger. The answer is to provide natural flooring that would emulate how a tiger would live in the wild. He needs all of his flooring to be grass covered earth.
There is also no comparison to standing under a tin roof and standing under a huge tree for shade and cooling. Ask that trees be planted in and around the enclosure to give him some natural relief.
Tigers pee in their pools, so be sure to ask that his new pool be attached to a septic system so that it can be properly cleaned every day. Any pool big enough to hold a tiger in a decent depth of water will be too heavy for a person to tip over and clean each day. They hardly clean his cage now, so adding a cesspool that cannot be cleaned properly only adds to the noxious waste this tiger has to endure.
Furthermore, Sandlin was required to make sure the cage stays clean and the animal is fed "a commercial diet approved and prescribed in writing by a licensed veterinarian" experienced with tigers. He also is required to have staff at his truck stop trained and designated on how to deal with the tiger if it ever escapes. The ordinance further requires Sandlin to carry liability insurance and to hold the parish harmless for any harm or damage the tiger might cause the public.
Speaking before the meeting, Sandlin said he saw no problem complying with most requirements in the amended ordinance.
NOTE: Sandlin clearly says 'most'. He does not agree to comply with the requirements - and he is NOT challenged on this statement at all! Who is playing whom here?
However, Sandlin said he disagrees with language in both state law and the parish ordinance that prohibits him from displaying any more tigers after Tony dies or is legally transferred from Iberville Parish. He said it is unfair to prohibit him from continuing to display tigers while no such restriction applies to LSU's tiger mascot. "I'm not happy with that, and we're not going to roll over and play dead on it either," Sandlin said.
The council's action on that Tuesday removed an obstacle that has kept Sandlin from qualifying for a state permit from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
NOTE: To date the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have not issued Sandlin with a permit, and apparently there is no time limit either, which means Sandlin can keep the tiger caged in these appalling circumstances - while laughing all the way to the bank!
We ask you to sign this email letter, addressed to the Iberville council
Let us use public pressure, and naming and shaming of this Parish to secure justice for Tony:
1) Either to improve his living conditions - forcing Sandlin to obey the law, and insisting that the Iberville Parish enforce their own laws!
2) Secure the release of Tony - Big Cat Rescue is willing to take Tony in.
THANK YOU FOR STANDING UP FOR THE RIGHTS OF CAGED WILDLIFE.
TONY IS BUT ONE OF MANY THOUSANDS OF CAGED TIGERS IN THE USA.
THE MISERY OF HIS EXISTENCE IS ECHOED BY ALL THE OTHERS, PACING UP AND DOWN, DAY IN - DAY OUT.
We ask that the council:
1) Calls for a thorough and independent investigation of Michael Sandlin's flouting the law, and councils failure to uphold the law. In Feb 2009, the Iberville Parish Council voted for Sandlin's continued caging of Tony, with several provisions - none of which Sandlin has complied with!
2) To prosecute Michael Sandlin for animal cruelty and neglect (continuous inhalation of toxic fumes, subjected to constant bright lights, subjected to severe cold in winter without adequate heat, inadequate bedding, and lack of adequate bathing facilities.
3) Release Tony to the care of Big Cat Rescue
In view of the council's past and present apparent reluctance to act on behalf of the well being of this Tiger, and the council's failure to uphold laws designed to protect wildlife from abuse, we are now compelled to take this issue to the world stage - where the Iberville Parish will be named and shamed.
Concerned Citizen - against the abuse of Wildlife.