Judge Michael Caldwell denied truck stop owner Michael Sandlin’s request for a new trial. His ruling denied state agencies from issuing new permits to keep the big cat, a 550-pound Bengal-Siberian. But now, the state’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeal sent the file back to Caldwell, saying the owner deserves another hearing.
Does he? Read more about Tony and Sandlin in Gambit — about violations at the truck stop, like "failure to properly clean cages to maintain adequate sanitation, failure to maintain structurally sound cages, not utilizing a sufficient number of adequately trained employees, improper food storage, failure to provide sufficient food, unsanitary feeding practices, failure to have a veterinary care program, mishandling animals, failure to clean water receptacles with algae growth and failure to provide shelter from inclement weather." Sandlin has been named a Top 10 offender by PETA, and violator of the USDA'S Animal Welfare Act. Here's the April ALDF campaign video for Tony, with True Blood's Kristin Bauer:
Following the appeal, Sandlin's attorney Steve LeBlanc told the Adovcate, "We’re very pleased. This will give us a chance to correct the situation." In a statement following the ruling, ALDF attorney Matthew Liebman called it “a minor setback" and is "confident that the trial court got the law right the first time around and will rule the same way when we go through it again."
On the Tiger Truck Stop website, a petition reads: "Is Tony in need of being rescued? No, he is in good health, has a nice compound, and is very loved by his owner. ... The rights we all have as Americans are being torn away from us daily by the Animal Rights Groups. What does an organization on the west coast really care about a tiger in Louisiana anyway, other than to make headlines and put another notch in their gun?"