Meeting proposed on truck-stop tiger

Meeting proposed on truck-stop tiger

Advocate Westside bureau
Published: Jan 8, 2009 – Page: 8B – UPDATED: 12:05 a.m.

PLAQUEMINE — The Humane Society of Louisiana has invited a Grosse Tete truck stop owner to speak to members of the group at a meeting at Iberville Parish Library on Saturday about the Siberian-Bengal tiger he keeps as a roadside attraction.

The group plans to discuss ways to resolve some of the issues concerning the 550-pound tiger named Tony that has been a fixture at the truck stop for more than eight years.

Animal-welfare advocates have pressed for the tiger to be relocated to a wildlife sanctuary. But Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin has said the tiger receives proper care and should remain where he has been raised since he was a cub.

“I think that we have more common ground than differences, and it might be good just to meet and say hello to one another and establish a respectful rapport,” said Jeff Dorson, director of the Humane Society of Louisiana.

Sandlin said when contacted Wednesday that he had not yet received the invitation to speak, but is inclined to accept it.

“If they are inviting me, I’d be happy to attend,” Sandlin said. “There’s a difference between someone who wants to help and someone who wants to take my tiger away.”

The meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the library, 24605 J. Gerald Berret Blvd.

Dorson said his group, in addition to dealing with the tiger issue, hopes to establish a branch in Iberville Parish. The Humane Society, a leading animal protection organization, has eight other chapters in Louisiana all run by volunteers, he said.

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