In the latest update in the case of Tony the Tiger — the Big Cat attraction at Grosse Tete's Tiger Truck Stop — the Louisiana Supreme Court on Oct. 4 denied a request by owner Michael Sandlin to review the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling that Tony, a 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger, cannot live at the truck stop.
In 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for unlawfully issuing a permit to Sandlin to keep Tony. In April, the 1st Circuit Court of Court of Appeal held that Sandlin cannot keep Tony, nor can he keep a big cat permit issued by LDWF. Sandlin appealed to the state Supreme Court, which denied his application.
"We are relieved to see this case reach its end," Matthew Liebman, senior attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said in an Oct. 7 statement. "Nearly three years after we asked the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries not to issue a permit to the Tiger Truck Stop, the highest court in the state has declined to prolong this case further. We call upon the [LDWF] to do the right thing and send Tony to a reputable sanctuary, before we face another tiger tragedy."
Meanwhile, Sandlin said he will try to appeal the state's decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also has a separate suit pending against the state, arguing that its ban of exotic animals from private ownership is unconstitutional.