Louisiana Senate halts truck stop tiger bill

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana State Senate voted against legislation on Monday that would allow Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete to continue to keep a Siberian-Bengal tiger.

State Sen. Rick Ward III sought approval of an exception in state law governing the ownership of big exotic cats.

Senate Bill 250 fell two votes short of the majority needed for passage 18-19.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has authority to control and regulate the possession of big exotic cats under state law.

Exceptions are provided for colleges and universities, animal sanctuaries, zoos, wildlife rescue centers, scientific organizations and owners who can prove previous ownership.

Ward sought to clarify the definition of previous owner to include anyone who obtained an animal legally and has been in continuous possession and ownership since Aug. 15, 2006.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal held in April 2013 that Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin was ineligible for a big cat permit and state law banned the LDWF from renewing Sandlin’s permit to house the tiger.

The Louisiana Supreme Court rejected Sandlin’s petition and let that decision stand in October 2013.

“Our victory to help protect Tony the tiger still stands, yet Sandlin continues to undermine the law year after year,” executive director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “This bill was deviously snuck in the back door with no notice and is one more attempt from Sandlin to say he is not accountable by law and should receive special favors.”