Description: Off Interstate-10 at exit 139 is Tiger Truck Stop which uses a live Siberian/Bengal tiger named Tony as a gimmick and roadside attraction.
A 1993 Iberville Parish County Ordinance prohibited the display of wild exotic animals as pets but was never enforced. The ordinance was amended on March 17, 2009 to allow Tony’s owner Michael Sandlin to keep Tony.
Mr. Sandlin then had to secure a license from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. LDWF’s Large Carnivore Manager Maria Davidson stated:
“It is the Department’s position that private possession of tigers poses a significant hazard to public safety and is detrimental to the health of the animal. Prolonged confinement is by its nature stressful to tigers and proper long-term care by experienced persons is essential to the health of the animal.”
On December 14, 2009 the LDW&F granted a permit to allow Tony’s owner to keep him at the truck stop.
Some of the dangers to Tony both physically and mentally include:
1. Constant inhalation of diesel fumes as his cage is literally within feet of the gas pumps.
2. Sight-seers continually crowding around his cage and flashing lights in his face from cameras.
3. There are even signs posted asking people not to throw things at the tiger.
4. Living on concrete which has been linked to a painful condition of fluid collection around an animal’s joints.
5. Deafening noise from the big trucks and cars passing through 24 hours a day.
6. Living alone with no enrichment whatsoever or animals of his kind.