Truck stop owner sues over tiger

You can contact the Judge's office and ask them to DENY Sandlin's request for an injunction.

Judge J. Robin Free
18TH Judicial District

Secretary Charlene Hebert charlene@18thjdcd.com

AND

Law Clerk Nina Joiner nina@18thjdcd.com

Judge J. Robin Free (Division
850 8Th Street
Port Allen, LA 70767
(225) 336-2419 or
(225) 336-2420
Fax: (225) 336-2409

Truck stop owner sues over tiger

Owners of Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete have been told to remove 'Tony,' an 8-year-old Bengal tiger, from the property of the business by state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries officials. The owner of the truck stop has filed a lawsuit in district court to block the move.

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PATRICK DENNIS/The Advocate
Owners of Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete have been told to remove 'Tony,' an 8-year-old Bengal tiger, from the property of the business by state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries officials. The owner of the truck stop has filed a lawsuit in district court to block the move. 

 

PLAQUEMINE — Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin filed a lawsuit in district court  Monday to block state and local officials from forcing him to remove a 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger he displays as a roadside attraction.

The filing came one day before the deadline state Department of Wildlife Fisheries had set for Sandlin to move "Tony" from his cage at the Gross Tete truck stop.

The suit, filed before 18th Judicial District Judge J. Robin Free, seeks an injunction that would keep officials from seizing the tiger as Sandlin tries to get changes made to an Iberville Parish ordinance on exotic animals.

"A large portion of the business at Tiger Truck Stop comes from customers stopping to view the tiger exhibit," the suit states.

"Mr. Sandlin will suffer irreparable harm if he is required to relocate his tiger according to the Dec. 16, 2008 deadline," the suit states. "If he is forced to relocate the tiger or if the tiger is seized then he will most likely be prevented from bringing it back to the State of Louisiana."

Sandlin has long been under fire from animal welfare advocates who say the tiger does not belong in a barred cage with a concrete floor and cement block "den" as a roadside attraction.

Sky Williamson, an animals rights advocate who has campaigned to move the tiger, said she is disappointed Sandlin filed the suit.

"It makes me sad to see that Tony will remain at the truck stop through the holidays, when he could be in a humane sanctuary and, for once in his life, be taken care of properly," Williamson said.

Sandlin's attorney, Joseph B. Dupont Jr., had asked state wildlife officials to extend the Dec. 16 deadline for removing the tiger, but the request was rejected in a letter dated Monday.

Sandlin plans to ask the Iberville Parish Council to amend a 1993 ordinance that prevents him from getting a state permit needed to keep the tiger, Dupont said.

The 1993 parish law prohibits an individual from keeping any "wild, exotic, vicious animal or reptile for display or for exhibition purposes."

The local rule went unnoticed, until Sandlin tried to apply for the state permit. The permit requires him to comply with all local ordinances and regulations.

"It is clearly impossible for Mr. Sandlin to comply with Wildlife and Fisheries regulations … as written," the lawsuit states.

It says further that Sandlin has exhibited tigers for 20 years at the truck stop without any injuries to humans or escapes.

Dupont said Sandlin should be "grandfathered" out of the 1993 parish ordinance dealing with exotic animals.

Free is expected to rule on the request for a restraining order today.


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Iberville Parish Courthouse

2ND floor 58050 Meriam Street Plaquemine LA 225-687-3257

Tiger Truck Stop 76730 Garner Lane Grosse Tete LA  70740 225-648-2312

Lawyer for Michael Sandlin, Tony's owner:

Joseph DuPont 23635  Railroad Ave. Plaquemine LA 225-687-6893



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

http://www.BigCatRescue.org
SaveTheBigCats@gmail.com

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

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