Sonia Horon, exclusive to Global Animal
The fight to free Tony, the Siberian-Bengal tiger famously caged and put on display at Grosse Tete, Louisiana’s Tiger Truck Stop, continues. The Louisiana Supreme Court has denied a petition to review the Court of Appeal’s decision, which ruled in favor of the captive tiger.
The Louisiana Court of Appeal ruled that Michael Sandlin, the person responsible for caging the tiger, did not in fact have the right to a grandfather permit, which would allow him to keep the tiger in spite of the state’s exotic cat laws.
In 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for wrongfully releasing the permit allowing Sandlin to cage and display Tony. Sandlin has been attempting to challenge the ruling, but the Supreme Court has shut him down.
Unfortunately Sandlin, who clearly has no actual interest in Tony’s well-being, declared if he is forced to give up the tiger, he will send the animal to the notoriously negligent G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.
G.W. Exotic is famous for it’s exploitation of tiger cubs. The roadside zoo was investigated by the Humane Society of the United States last year after 23 of G.W. Exotic’s imprisoned baby tigers died. During the investigation, five more captive tigers died under the facility’s “care.”
The park’s owner, Joe Schreibvogel, or “Joe Exotic,” is possibly the largest private owner of tigers in the U.S., with as many as 200 tigers and more than 1,000 other animals. Just last weekend, the controversial park became the subject of further controversy after a woman was attacked by a tiger on the premises.
Megan Backus from ALDF says their non-profit law organization is doing everything in their power to ensure that Tony will not be going to this wildlife jail.
“ALDF is asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to investigate the horrific attack at G.W. Exotic.
Given the animal welfare and public safety failings at G.W. Exotic, ALDF is calling on LDWF to ensure that Tony is transferred to a legitimate and reputable sanctuary. Sending Tony to G.W. Exotic would violate both Louisiana and Oklahoma state laws.”