Tony the Tiger, icon of Grosse Tete truck stop and subject of countless failed lawsuits, euthanized Monday

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Tony the Tiger lived at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete for nearly 20 years before being euthanized Monday night due to poor health.

Tony the Tiger, advertised as a tourist attraction at a truck stop at Grosse Tete just off I-10, was euthanized Monday night due to health issues.

It is believed Tony's health had declined due to kidney failure but veterinarians will conduct a necropsy to determine for sure.

The much-ballyhooed tiger, battled over by animal rights groups for years and the subject of many lawsuits, was only 6 months old when he came to the Tiger Truck Stop in 2001.

"The decision was made to end his suffering at his facility," a statement issued by the truck stop said, continuing by describing Monday "a sad day for his owner Michael Sandlin and the entire (Tiger Truck Stop) family."

Experts said Tony was old for a tiger, an animal which usually only lives for 15, maybe 18 years, when in captivity. 

Tony lived out his life in a cage with a grassy area, a large water tank to swim in, a hanging tire and other toys.

"We just want to make him as comfortable as we can, and we don't want him to be in pain. That's what the medication is for," Sandlin said.

In a statement released after Tony's death, the Animal Legal Defense Fund released a statement expressing its regret that "despite our best efforts, he lived and died caged at a truck stop that could never provide the life he deserved."