Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Animal Welfare: Tony The Tiger - Tiger Truck Stop Continues To Fuel Public Outrage

A 10-year-old Bengal/Siberian-mix Tiger that is being kept in a concrete and steel cage at a 24-hour truck stop off of Interstate Highway I-10 continues to fuel public outrage, as tens of thousands of people across the U.S. continue to sign petitions calling for LA state wildlife officials to bring an end to the dire situation.

"Tony" the Tiger has been on display as an advertising gimmick for nearly 10 years, and lives in a cage situated less than 100 feet from a long line of Diesel fuel pumps where large tractor-trailers come to refuel all day and night.

The exhaust fumes and loud truck noises are just part of what wildlife advocates point out as being inhumane conditions for keeping a Tiger.

Additional noise and pollution is also generated by heavy interstate traffic located just a few hundred feet in the opposite direction... and posted signs warning visitors not to throw objects at the Tiger have been posted out of necessity.

Yet, truck stop owner, Michael Sandlin, has continued to keep the Tiger on display despite public controversy, insurance lapses and permit issues with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

"Tony is all alone after other similar tigers were sold and taken from the truck stop, and his routine of incessantly pacing back and forth clearly demonstrates his disturbed state," says Veterinarian Christine Kratt, who has been closely following the case.

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."

Sky Williamson, a representative from the Free Tony The Tiger Campaign, says "We've reached a critical point in trying to secure Tony a new home at a free-roaming Wildlife Sanctuary, as the Louisiana Wildlife Commission is meeting to review Sandlin's permit this Thursday, December 4th, 2010, and we feel this is the perfect opportunity for people to let the Commissioners know that the permit should not be renewed. We're asking concerned people to contact the Commissioners before the meeting in order to demonstrate how many people truly care about Tony's welfare."

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has scheduled the next regular public board meeting for 9:30 a.m. on November 4, 2010, at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries building located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

People with concerns should contact the Wildlife Commissioners at:

Commissioner Oats (Chairman) can be contacted at:
100 E. Vermillion St., Suite 400
Lafayette, LA 70501
Phone: (337) 233-1100

Commissioner Morrow may be contacted at:

P.O. Drawer 1787
Opelousas, LA 70570
Phone: (337) 948-4483

Commissioner Sagrera can be contacted at:

17801 Theall Road
Abbeville, LA 70510
Phone: (337) 893-7709
Fax: (337) 893-7703

Commissioner Taylor can be contacted at:

P.O. Box 1199
Boutte, LA 70039
ph. 985-758-2795

Commissioner Graham can be contacted at:

P.O. Box 400
Ruston, LA 71273
Phone: 318-232-7021

Commissioner Voisin can be contacted at:

P.O. Box 3916
Houma, LA 70361-3916
Fax: 985-868-7472
Phone: 985-868-7191

SOURCE The Wild Animal Sanctuary

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will break for Christmas, Dec 11, 2010 and return Jan 4, 2011