Parish Veto: What does it mean?

We are happy that J. Mitchell Ourso vetoed the Council's ruling, but the council can still over rule his veto with a 2/3's vote.

Ourso is asking the council to change the amendment to include measures that would make the Tiger Truck Stop more safe and more humane.  There is no way to do either, but I am sure that if they do it at all, it will be some lip service language that does not really address either issue.

A couple of the councilmen were going to keep Tony there, no matter what and they cannot be swayed, but we only need 5 councilmen to vote against overruling the veto.  There was one, Ed Reeves who voted against keeping Tony at the Truck Stop so we need to convince 4 more. 

The objections made by the ones who spoke up were that no "tiger experts" had presented evidence that the situation was dangerous to people or the animal.  They said that there was no written documentation by USDA of the violations, other than what is posted online. 

What we need to do now, is thank those who are helping Tony below and find "tiger experts" they might respect, such as vets, zoo vets, zoo curators, animal behaviorists, weather experts in the area of hurricane force winds and what that can do to a chain link cage, the surgeon general on the consequences of breathing gas fumes, etc.  If you can secure letters from such people, please copy me at or fax them to me at 813.885.4457 or mail them to me at Carole Baskin 12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625 as soon as possible so we can put together a compelling case for the councilmen who may be on the fence.

We owe a huge thanks to J.Mitchell Ourso (Parish President)  If anyone would care to thank him for his efforts on behalf of Tony please do so.


Please also send a letter of appreciation to District 5
Mr. Edwin M. Reeves, Jr. 58680 St. Clement Street
Plaquemine, LA 70764


He was the ONLY one that voted to NOT amend the ordinance for Michael Sandlin.

Parish leader vetoes bill to allow tiger

  • Advocate Westside bureau
  • Published: Feb 28, 2009 – Page: 2B – UPDATED: 12:05 a.m.
  • PLAQUEMINE — Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. vetoed a parish ordinance the council approved last week to allow a truck stop owner to continue keeping a tiger at his place of business.

    In his veto message, Ourso wrote that the ordinance the council passed by a vote of 11-1 was deficient because it failed to provide “for permitting conditions to ensure the safety of the general public and the health and welfare of the tiger.”

    Attorneys for the parish and for Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin said in a separate joint statement on Friday that they are working to correct “deficiencies” in the ordinance and would submit a revised version for the council’s approval.

    Ourso, Sandlin and the attorneys involved in the dispute declined to comment beyond what was in the written veto message and in the statement by the attorneys.

    Ourso had warned council members last week that he would veto the ordinance unless Sandlin agreed to improve conditions under which the 550-pound, Siberian-Bengal tiger is being kept.

    The tiger, named Tony, has been at the Grosse Tete truck stop since it was a cub, on display as a roadside attraction in a barred cage with a concrete floor.

    Animal welfare advocates have complained for years that the environment is unsuitable and unhealthy for the tiger. Sandlin has said he provides proper care for the tigers he has kept over the years.

    Sky Williamson, an advocate who has spearheaded efforts to get Tony moved to a tiger sanctuary, said revising the ordinance does not address the basic problem.

    “The bottom line is tigers do not belong in truck stops. Period,” Williamson said.

    The veto is the latest wrinkle in a long-running battle over the fate of the tiger.

    Sandlin ran into trouble after applying to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for a state permit for the tiger.

    During that process, it was discovered that was there a parish ordinance on the books, adopted in 1993, that restricts the private ownership of exotic, dangerous animals.

    The ordinance prohibits an individual from keeping any “wild, exotic, vicious animal or reptile for display or for exhibition purposes.”

    In order to get a state permit, Sandlin had to persuade the Parish Council to amend the local ordinance to exempt his tiger.

    The council voted 11-1 in favor of the new ordinance, despite objections from animal welfare advocates.

    If Sandlin is granted a parish permit, he still must obtain a separate permit from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in order to keep the tiger.

    Sky Williamson

    For the cats,

    Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
    an Educational Sanctuary home
    to more than 100 big cats
    12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
    813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

    Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

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