There is a truckstop in the middle of rural Louisiana where a tiger lives. That sentence was an entirely true one -- and just one part of the sad story of "Tony the truck stop tiger." Surrounded by loud noises and fumes from diesel trucks that rumble through the station, Tony has long been the target of animal welfare advocates.
Sadly, news broke this week that the 13-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger will likely remain in his cage at the truck stop, despite a lawsuit brought against Tony's owner, Mike Sandlin. Now, a bill to provide Sandlin with legal exemptions so he can keep Tony is creeping up the political ranks. Local WDSU News reports:
The House voted 67-26 Friday to send the measure by Port Allen Sen. Rick Ward, a Republican, to the governor. Ward's bill would exempt Michael Sandlin - owner of Tiger Truck Stop and a 550-pound Bengal tiger named Tony - from state restrictions on owning exotic cats.
If the bill is signed, Tony will stay at the stop in Grosse Tete, La., despite protests that his enclosure is inadequate. The Animal Legal Defense Fund sums up Tony's predicament: