Save Caged Tiger From Tourist Attraction


Target: Matthew Liebman, attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund

Goal: Save Tony the tiger from a Louisiana truck stop and relocate him to a Colorado sanctuary

A fourteen-year-old tiger has spent his entire life locked in a cage as a roadside attraction in Louisiana. Despite laws prohibiting the ownership of big cats, the purveyors of the Cajun restaurant where Tony resides were allowed to keep him. Animal rights groups have taken action and are seeking a resolution that will allow Tony to spend his remaining years in a sanctuary. Big cats are neither pets nor entertainment and Tony must be saved from a life in a cage.

If you pass through Grosse Tête, Louisiana, odds are you will see a 550-pound Siberian tiger pacing behind the bars of a 40-by-80-foot cage that lies within a parking lot full of gas pumps and 18-wheelers. Tony has been a resident at the Tiger Truck Stop, a 24-hour Cajun restaurant, for fourteen years. In the gift shop visitors can purchase tiger stuffed animals and t-shirts and play tiger-themed video poker games. Michael Sandlin, the truck stop’s owner, has been in litigation with both the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for the past 2 years. Despite the fact that Louisiana outlawed private possession of big cats in 2006 and the state’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Sandlin’s permit for Tony was invalid in 2012, he still owns Tony. Sandlin managed to subvert the law by seeking the aid of Republican state Senator Rick Ward III who drafted a bill making an exception for Tony, which was signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal.

Sandlin makes no attempt to mask his hatred for those who support animal rights. Numerous signs throughout the truck stop proclaim the “evils” of animal rights and the gift shop sells t-shirts that read “animal rights activists taste like chicken.” In response to the allegations animal welfare groups have made against him, Sandlin said, “The problem is that the people behind this fight, the animal rights organizations, it is their agenda to obtain total animal liberation. They are, in my opinion, participating in domestic terrorism here in the United States. It’s their agenda to give animals equal rights and the problem with that is that if animals have rights, you cannot own them anymore.” He also argued the absurdity of the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, and PETA. Sandlin, however, doesn’t seem to understand the purpose of animal welfare laws. It is simply a matter of quality of life. Animal equality doesn’t negate ownership. Domesticated animals cannot survive on their own and live much more substantial and fulfilling lives under the care of a human. Wild animals such as tigers, however, cannot have healthy or meaningful lives in captivity.

Matthew Liebman of ALDF responded to Sandlin’s comments, saying. “I think at the most basic level, tigers just don’t belong in cages in parking lots, just a short distance from the highway, a short distance from diesel pumps and idling 18-wheelers. They’ve tried to make the focus on his habitat, the square footage, whether there’s grass, whether there’s air conditioning, and all of that is largely beside the point because you still have a tiger in a cage in a truck stop. When you set that side-by-side with the offer that the cat sanctuary in Colorado has offered, it’s really no comparison.”

Please sign the petition below and demand that Tony is rescued and allowed to live the rest of his life in a sanctuary where he can truly be a tiger.


Dear Mr. Liebman,

Despite the fact that Louisiana has banned private citizens from owning big cats, an exception has been made for Michael Sandlin, who uses his caged tiger Tony as a roadside attraction. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has been involved in litigation with Sandlin for nearly 2 years now and other animal welfare groups are considering taking action.

Please save Tony and give him the freedom, care, and protection he deserves at a sanctuary in Colorado. He has spent all fourteen years of his life in a cage in a truck stop parking lot. Furthermore, no individual should be exempt from the law, especially when it sacrifices the welfare of a wild animal.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: naturesauraphotography via Flickr

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
FacebookCare2 NewsTwitterEmailShare


  1. Sam Outhorn says:

    Any tiger has more dignity, and very likely intelligence, than any such abusers. Please get your priorities right!

  2. This southerner has no respect for any life as I found out when I lived in N.C. life is cheap as long as they have a bottle or enough beer to make them more stupid than they are already , let’s stick his ass in the cage with the tiger, I wonder if his stupid attitude would change, the civil war’s over idiot —‘YOU LOST, BUT YOUR STUPIDITY LIVES ON FOREVER, for ONCE in your life do something, that may gain you some respect before you drop dead, PUT THE CAT IN A REFUGE, maybe when you die and you get to the gate there’ll be a cage waiting for you –IN HELL–

  3. laurel mancini says:

    This is Tony the Tiger. People have been signing petitions and all to free him to a sanctuary. Like a dog on a chain – life passes by and all Tony can do is watch. Shitesen!

  4. Stan Benton says:

    The owner of this truck stop is one sick mother; but the “legislators”, making loop holes for him to continue this obscene imprisonment of the tiger, are even sicker. What is wrong with them? (Rhetorical, don’t try to answer.)

  5. Kae Blecha, OTR says:

    I’m used to good ol’ boys from the Deep South making these back-room deals, but then Gov. Jindal is in on it, too? What a low-rent politician that guy is.

  6. Why would anyone need to own and keep a majestic animal in a small cage breathing gas filled air?

    How can this continue after the states First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2012 that Sandlins permit was invalid and LA outlawed private possession of big cats in 2006?

    Why would Senator Rick Ward and Governor Jindal step in and let this poor cat rot in a cage at a gas station at the side of the road??? It doesn’t make any sense and it must be corrected now. Please take the necessary action to release this poor animal to a sanctuary where he belongs asap .

  7. Well another one for the Republicans. Really they let this guy be exception to the law! ” WHY? ” 14 years behind bars for committing no crime at all.


  9. This animal should be send to a sanctuary NOW !!! He is God’s creature not suppose to be own by anybody!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




4065 Signatures

  • Nan Stevenson
  • Carrie Wilson
  • Carol Hall
  • G Petersen
  • Mark Bould
  • Inogen MacKenzie
  • Janet Delaney
  • eve roberts
  • Valerie Berke
  • judith worrall
1 of 407123...407
Skip to toolbar