Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed state Sen. Rick Ward's Senate Bill 250, which exempts the owner of a tiger kept at a truck stop in Gross Tete from existing state law banning private possession of big cats. Tony, a 14-year-old Siberian Bengal tiger, is owned by Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin, who keeps the tiger at the truck stop as a roadside attraction.
The bill's filing followed ongoing legal battles over Sandlin's ability to keep Tony. In 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for unlawfully issuing a permit to Sandlin to keep Tony, and in April 2013, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal upheld that Sandlin can't keep Tony or a permit. In October 2013, the Louisiana Supreme Court rejected Sandlin's petition to review that ruling. In a statement sent out today, ALDF said the new law "overturns those legal victories by undermining the settled rulings of Louisiana courts," calling Jindal's signature unconstitutional.
The bill met little resistance (and discussion) in its passage through the Senate's Natural Resources Committee in April, and the bill failed its first pass in the full Senate. Ward reintroduced the bill in May, however, and it passed. (Several legislators flipped their votes.) After a few hours of testimony and debate, it passed the House before heading to Jindal's desk.
In the ALDF statement, state Rep. Warren Triche (who passed the 2006 legislation banning exotic pet ownership) said, “This law circumvents the three-tiered court system, including the Louisiana Court of Appeal, for the benefit of one individual. ... It is my understanding the Louisiana Constitution does not allow an individual to seek special favors to undo what the courts have already decided.”
ALDF media relations manager Megan Backus told Gambit that the group plans to file a lawsuit naming the state, Sandlin and Tiger Truck Stop to overturn the law early next week, "based on the fact this new law violates the Louisiana constitution."
The Daily Show's Al Madrigal talked to state Sen. Elbert Guillory about his efforts to legitimize "chicken boxing" in Louisiana.
"I'm not a fan of cockfighting," Guillory said, "but I love to go and watch some chicken boxing."
Madrigal also talked to state Sen. J.P. Morrell, who sponsored a bill (which Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law) to strengthen the state's cockfighting ban. Guillory attempted to add an amendment that would exempt chicken boxing — and add licensing and regulation to the "sport" — from the bill. That amendment failed.
"These are premier athletes," Guillory said. Essentially Madrigal's only reply throughout is, "We're talking about 'chicken boxing,' right?"
On Thursday, June 12, a few dozen New Orleans restaurants will donate 20 percent of their dining proceeds to the Louisiana SPCA. The event is the nonprofit's fifth annual Pause 4 Paws, and the participating restaurants make it possible to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner out on the town, supporting local, furry friends.
It's really easy to participate. You just go out to eat.
Fifty restaurants are participating, including, appropriately, The Bulldog (both Uptown and Mid-City locations), Cure, Nirvana Indian Cuisine, Noodle and Pie, Mariza and more (there's a full list below the jump).
If you can't make it out to eat, you can also donate to the cause online here.
In its 2014 session, the Louisiana Legislature spent hours debating the fate of Tony, a Bengal tiger and roadside attraction at Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete. Senate Bill 250 from state Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, attempts to make an exemption for Tony and his owner, Michael Sandlin, from state law prohibiting exotic big cat ownership. The bill passed the House Natural Resources committee May 28 with a 10-6 vote. After failure in the state Senate in April, Ward resurrected the bill and passed it in May. Following today’s passage in committee, it heads to the House for final approval before heading to Gov. Bobby Jindal for a signature.
In 2010, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for unlawfully issuing Sandlin a permit to keep Tony, and in April 2013, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal held that Sandlin is ineligible to hold a permit to keep Tony. In October 2013, the Louisiana Supreme Court rejected Sandlin’s petition to review the ruling.
"It’s not just about Internet cat videos, it’s about watching Internet cat videos together," says Rachel Joyce of the Walker Art Center in Minnesota, about the 2014 Internet Cat Video Festival, which comes to New Orleans June 28.
The festival, which is apparently the first of its kind in the world, aims to bring the Internet community together - the internet community that spends countless hours on Youtube watching cats trying to wedge themselves into tiny cardboard boxes, that is - from city to city. Founded in 2012, the festival now tours internationally, adapting its program to the needs and desires of each city.
This year's video festival was curated by none other than Will Braden, who cat video enthusiasts will most definitely recognize from the Youtube classic Henri le Chat Noir, the French existentialist cat whose torment goes far beyond kitty litter and other quotidian woes.
The festival is being hosted by local non-profits Spaymart and Art for Cats Sake at the New Orleans Museum of Art. There are three showings on the 28th: 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Choose one or just sit through all three. (You know you'll want to.) Tickets are $12 and can be purchased here. There will also be a related festival in City Park, which is free to attend and will feature costume contests, photo contests, feline art and food and drinks. There's a cat photo contest for people to enter before the date of the festival (more details on that here, too).
During the festival, there's a "people dressed as cats" contest. That contest, thank God, is split into two categories, one for kids and one for adults.
The celebration of the world's most aloof and vaguely narcissistic house pet will raise funds for Spaymart and Art for Cats Sake, whose mission it is to improve the lines of feline friends in Louisiana.
After failing to pass Senate Bill 250 through the Louisiana Senate in April, State Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, reintroduced his bill to exempt big cat owners from a state law banning exotic pet ownership. This afternoon, SB 250 narrowly passed by a vote of 20-18. It now heads to the House.
State Sens. Troy Brown and Mack White were absent to vote last month. They voted in favor this afternoon. Sens. Danny Martiny, Gary Smith and Robert Kostelka, who voted against the bill in April, also voted in favor.
Sens. Dan Claitor, Yvonne Dorsey-Lacomb and Dan Morrish voted for the measure last month but voted against it today. Sen. Ben Nevers, who voted against the bill last month, was absent today.
The law would apply to Michael Sandlin, who owns the 13-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger named Tony, who has lived at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete for more than a decade. The law would come up against the Louisiana Supreme Court's rejection of Sandlin's petition in October 2013 to review the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling that Tony can't live at the truck stop.
The Louisiana Senate failed to pass Senate Bill 250 from State Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, which aimed to exempt certain big-cat owners from a state law banning exotic pet ownership. The law would apply to Michael Sandlin, who owns the 13-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger named Tony, who has lived at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete for more than a decade.
The bill passed the Senate's Committee on Natural Resources April 15. The committee amended the bill to remove an exemption for people who hold a USDA Class C exhibitor's license, a license which Sandlin possesses. Today, the Senate voted 18-19 against the measure. Ward's bill attempted to undercut a 2006 state law banning private ownership of exotic pets by exempting those permit holders.
Attempts to remove Tony from the truck stop have been ongoing for years. More recently, the Louisiana Supreme Court rejected Sandlin's petition in October 2013 to review the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling that Tony can't live at the truck stop. In 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for unlawfully issuing a permit to Sandlin to keep Tony, and in April 2013, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal held that Sandlin can't keep Tony, nor can he keep that permit.
Desoto Parish State Rep. Richard "Richie" Burford, R-Stonewall (motto: "A great place to live"), introduced House Bill 353, which declares open season on wild hogs — the pigs, not the Tim Allen dad-buddy masterpiece. Under the bill, hunters can go after wild hogs, day or night, on private property. Under present law, hunting wild hogs is restricted to daylight hours from February through August. The bill passed the House 85-10 on Wednesday and was introduced in the Senate Thursday.
A House amendment also includes authorization to hunt coyotes at night on private property, also at any time of the year. (Present law already includes permission to hunt nutria and beaver.)
The bill follows the state's exploding wild animal populations — which in recent years have crept into more urban and suburban areas of New Orleans beyond surrounding bayous and parks. Recent sightings include a coyote (which has a Twitter account) stalking Uptown, and several adorable hog families hanging out on the neutral ground on Almonaster Road in New Orleans East.
According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, feral hogs (Sus scrofa) came to North America via Spanish explorers who planned to use them as livestock, but through escape and release, the pigs adapted to the wild. They can reach 400 pounds — they're protective, and kind of mean, and you don't want one charging at you. While the piglets are cute, the animals cause millions of dollars in damage to farms, forests and other property. Hog rooting can impact crops, golf courses, hayfields and backyards. The LSU AgCenter estimates there are more than 500,000 wild hogs in the state.
("But how does it taste, Alex?") Great. It's lean and not too game-y.
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