Ourso to discuss tiger habitat with owner
By Deidre Cruse
Tue Apr 14, 2009, 03:42 PM CDT
Village of Grosse Tete, La.
Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. was scheduled to meet Tuesday with Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin and their attorneys over habitat improvements required for “Tony the Tiger.”
“I kind of wanted to let things cool down a little bit,” Ourso said.
Over objections from animal rights activists, the Iberville Parish Council passed an ordinance that would allow Sandlin to keep the tiger as a roadside attraction at his Grosse Tete business.
Ourso, however, vetoed the measure and pushed through one that would require improvements to the tiger’s living quarters in order for Sandlin to qualify for a parish permit to keep the animal, the only one of its kind that might be permitted either now or in the future.
Animal rights activists wanted the tiger sent to a wildlife preserve in either Tennessee or Florida.
Ourso said he would discuss with Sandlin how many days it would take to improve the tiger’s cage. The parish president hoped it would not take more than a month.
“It will give him a chance to get everything in line, so we can start doing the weekly checks,” Ourso said.
As required by the ordinance, Iberville Animal Control will check on the animal weekly to ensure his care, the parish president said.
If Sandlin meets the parish requirements, Ourso said, he still must get a state permit from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.