Yesterday, Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin got the news he wanted to hear– the Louisiana Senate voted 20-18 on a bill that would allow Sandlin to keep his Bengal tiger at the truck stop.
Tony the Tiger has been a mainstay at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana since 2000 where he is housed in an 40 by 80-foot enclosure.
Tony’s existence at the truck stop has drawn sharp concern and criticism from animal right’s groups for several years.
Due to the state’s new Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries rule, only an individual– not a corporation– can legally own an exotic animal. Since the law went into effect, Sandlin has been fighting to keep Tony. In April, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that Sandlin’s permit to keep Tony not valid, since the corporation, Tiger Truck Stop Inc., actually owns the tiger.
The bill, Senate Bill 250, is sponsored by Port Allen Sen. Rick Ward. Ward’s bill would essentially grandfather Sandlin’s ownership of Tony and allow the tiger to be returned to the truck stop.
According to The Times-Picyune, Senator Ward said that Sandlin “takes good care of Tony and other tigers he’s housed at the truck stop since 1984.”
Sandlin has other supporters, as well. In October 2003, an online petition garnered 6,000 signatures in support of allowing Tony to stay at the truck stop, and 27,000 truck stop visitors signed the “Keep Tony Home” petition.
Senate Bill 250 will now move to the Louisiana House for consideration.
To read more on Tony the truck stop tiger, click here.
Where do you stand on this issue?
Source: The Times-Picayune