Grosse Tete truck stop tiger bill advances to governor

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

BATON ROUGE - The State of Louisiana’s House of Representatives voted 67-26 in favor of a bill on Friday that would allow a Grosse Tete truck stop to keep an 550-pound tiger.

Senate Bill 250 will now go to the governor’s desk for approval and Gov. Bobby Jindal will decide whether to change state law in order to allow owner Michael Sandlin to keep the tiger.

At issue is whether a licensed owner who obtained an exotic animal legally and has been in continuous possession and ownership since Aug. 15, 2006, should be exempted from state law that bans anyone other than colleges, sanctuaries, zoos, wildlife research centers and scientific organizations from possessing big exotic cats.

Sandlin owns Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete which has kept Tony the Tiger, a Siberian-Bengal mix, for the past 14 years since he was six-months-old.

Animal activists have long wanted the tiger placed in a sanctuary due to lack of alleged proper care of the animal.

“Allowing an individual to override court decisions and violate local and state laws in order to retain possession of a dangerous wild animal invites other would-be big exotic cat owners to come forward requesting their own exemptions to state and local laws,” Animal Legal Defense Fund’s media relations associate Megan Backus said. “Not only would this be a further waste of taxpayer money and a subversion of the legal system, but it would mean more animals suffering the way that Tony continues to suffer every day.”

ALDF is asking all supporters to send Governor Jindal a message urging him to veto SB 250.