Tigers are not gimmicks, attractions, props or pets. They are magnificent cats who deserve our respect and protection. Tony represents one of the estimated 5,000 – 10,000 tigers privately owned in the United States whose numbers exceed tigers left in the wild. These captive U.S. tigers suffer in backyards as "pets," in roadside zoos attractions and circuses, and are bred for profit; tiger cubs are exploited in photo ops and exhibitions, and others are condemned to canned hunts and sold on the black market.
There is absolutely no conservation value in privately breeding tigers. Sadly there are individuals who will go to any extent at the expense of these animals to capitalize on their appeal for one reason: money. The only sanctioned tiger breeding program in the United States is the Species Survival Plan in which AZA accredited zoos participate.
It’s very unfortunate that Tony’s owner, Mr. Sandlin, continues to prolong Tony’s imprisonment at the truck stop when accredited big cat sanctuaries can provide Tony with a natural spacious habitat of earth, grass, trees, logs, a den, a suitable pool, proper diet, medical care and enrichment. Tony’s supporters are sincerely thankful for the tremendous dedication of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and their persistent efforts to help Tony receive the care and life he deserves at such a sanctuary.
Judge Caldwell has heard the case before and nothing can change the fact that Mr. Sandlin never legally owned Tony per a 1993 Iberville Parish Ordinance and therefore should have never been grandfathered in under Louisiana Act 715 which prohibits the ownership and sale of large exotic cats, including tigers, in Louisiana nor given a permit to keep Tony from The Louisiana Department of Wildlife sand Fisheries.
With the life span of properly cared for captive tigers 15 to 20 years, it is imperative for Tony, who has been subjected to the detrimental environment of a truck stop and inadequate care for over a decade, to be relocated to a proper home immediately.
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