Truck stop tiger continues to draw controversial interest to parish

Staff reports
OBLIVIOUS TO DEBATE...Tony, the Bengal tiger who is a roadside attraction at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, takes a nap as the debate about his future draws national and international attention on a petition website. The Iberville Parish Council will hold a public hearing on the tiger issue at 6 p.m. Tuesday on the second floor of the Courthouse.

The following is an email sent out to area officials and the media by Sky Williamson, who has long complained about the treatment of the tiger who is caged at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete.

Responses were quick and to the point from Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr. and truck stop owner Michael Sandlin.

Ourso commented that he did not appreciate “threats: being made toward his office and the people of Iberville, especially coming from a non-resident of the area.

Meanwhile, Sandlin called Williamson’s email a form of harassment.

An official with the La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries also indicated they continue to monitor the care of the animal.

Williamson has worked in the Metro Baton Rouge area since finding employment after Hurricane Katrina.

Following is her email sent to the POST SOUTH:

Dear Mr. Ourso, Iberville Animal Control Shelter (Tamara) and Fred Kimmel:

This is a formal report/complaint I was at Tiger Truck Stop on April 19, 2010 in the afternoon.  I was disgusted with the fact that the den that Tony is made to sleep in has feces on the floor, that Tony has clearly lost weight and that the smell of urine and feces made me nauseated. The only reason the inside of the den would have feces in it is because Tony was locked in there for too long. Cats do not defecate where they sleep unless they cannot move away from that area. (I have pictures from the past months showing Tony locked in his den during the day with no access to water)

 This is not acceptable nor is it humane. From what I understand the conditions that Tony lives in were suppose to be monitored which obviously they are not. You willingly gave Michael Sandlin a parish permit and as I can see nothing has improved. How long are you going to allow this tiger to suffer? How long are you going to allow society to see animal cruelty on display? There has got to be an end to this suffering and the decision lies in your hands. I ask that you stop giving Michael Sandlin one chance after the next, enough is enough.

There are many people that care more about Tony then his own keeper seems to.  Why is common sense not being considered with this whole situation? I donít understand how so many of the officials just go forward with their day knowing this is going on.

If need be I will start a boycott of Iberville Parish until Tony is no longer there and in a humane sanctuary. This is not a road side attraction; this is an embarrassment to not only Iberville Parish but to the state of Louisiana. It seems odd to me that you would build a million dollar visitor center so close to Iberville Parishes biggest embarrassment.

I have photo documentation of everything that I have stated in this complaint.


               Sky Williamson