Following up on our previous post, Truck Stop fights to keep Tony the Tiger, the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana won its battle to keep Tony the Tiger as its main attraction, as Iberville Parish Council voted 11-1 in favor of truck stop owner, Michael Sandlin. Councilman Mitchel J. Oubre said he observed about 100 visitors to Tony’s habitat in about 45 minutes, while councilman Matt Jewell added that the tuck stop employs 40 to 70 workers who could lose their jobs if customers stopped visiting the truck stop to see the famous and exotic Siberian-Bengal tiger. Thus, a few of the main reasons the council voted in favor of the owner.
Activists claim that this violates animal rights regulations, of which, Sandlin has been written up for sixteen times by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Dangers to the 550 pound animal includes:
- Constant inhalation of diesel fumes
- Living among its own waste
- Flashing lights in its face by cameras
- Aggravation by sight-seers crowding around the cage
- Living alone with no interaction of animals of its kind (Since 2003)
Furthermore, a 1993 Parish Ordinance prohibits an individual from keeping any “wild, exotic, vicious animal or reptile for display or for exhibition purposes.” Councilman Edwin “Ed” Reeves Jr. cast the only single dissenting vote, claiming that Tony “deserves a better environment than the one he has been given at the truck stop.” It is also noted by experts that these large cats experience physical damages by being kept in cages, unable to walk their average 400 miles per day as done in the wild. Also, tigers and other wild cats that are kept in cages will resort to self mutilation.
I have visited this truck stop many times while I ran over the road and never saw 100 visitors within 45 minutes, so I would call that statement a bit of a “stretch.” Tiger Truck Stop always had great food and good people to chat with, but I always felt disheartened by these beautiful animals caged up as they were, and as Tony still is.
Sandlin counters with, “He’s a pet, and at the truck stop, Tony’s with the only family he has ever known.” The fight to free the massive animal continues:
Big Cat Rescue of Tampa, Florida continues to offer the correct environmental setting for Tony, but Sandlin has stated: “They just want to steal my tiger” and that they have “Never offered to help raise money to improve Tony’s habitat.”
BIG CAT RESCUE
The battle for Tony’s freedom has been going on for years and it appears it will continue. Tiger Truck Stop offers some of the best home cooking around and whenever I visited, just good, friendly “folks.” As for this issue, I’ll be standing on the side lines watching to see how it unfolds in the future. In the meantime, freedom for Tony will have to wait.