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Tony the Tiger Needs Your Help

Tiger Truck Stop Tony : Photo - Big Cat RescuePeople traveling across Louisiana are being lured to the Tiger Truck Stop outside Baton Rouge to see “the only live tigers on I-10.” Unfortunately, the tiger living there, who’s name is Tony, is in a chain link and concrete cell surrounded by diesel fumes from idling trucks — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Tony can never escape the noise, the flood lights, and the boredom as he paces back and forth.  A sign on the front of his cage asks people not to throw rocks at him. REALLY? People were throwing rocks at this poor animal?

Carole Baskin, Founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue of Tampa FL , has offered Tony sanctuary but his owner, Michael Sandlin, refuses. In December 2010, the permit allowing Sandlin to continue his exploitation of Tony is up for renewal.

To raise awareness of Tony’s plight, last week Be the Change 4 Animals featured Tony as their Cause of the Week. Asking their readers to send a pre-prepared letter to the representative who will be deciding his fate and sign a petition supporting his relocation to the animal sanctuary, BtC4Animals hoped to give Tony something to be grateful for during the week of Thanksgiving. The cause received a huge boost when when @IanSomerhalder (of LOST and The Vampire Diaries fame) tweeted about Tony’s plight on Thanksgiving day to his more than 450,000 Twitter fans. Thank you, Ian!

Our hearts go out to Tony and we hate to see him being exploited to draw business to a truck stop. It would be great if his owner would do the right thing and release Tony to the sanctuary. But, that doesn’t appear likely to happen and the situation may be getting worse – his owner’s website is requesting the donation a female tiger.

If you’d like to help Tony, take 2 minutes and

  • Send a letter (using Big Cat Action Alert’s one-step form) urging the USDA, Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife Service and more to end to the trade in tigers in private hands.
  • Sign the petition calling for the denial of Micheal Sandlin’s permit.
  • Share this story with friends and ask them to act too on Facebook,   Twitter and  YouTube.

For more information on causes like Tony’s, consider subscribing to  – the website that never asks you to spend a cent, just a few minutes of your time.

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  • […] may recall that we wrote about Tony as part of’s Blog the Change in November. This 550-pound tiger is a roadside […]

  • Peggy Frezon says:

    You got it. This is sad news indeed. But hopefully everyone will make the difference.

  • Mary Hunter says:

    Thanks for sharing this story.

    I will definitely share it with friends and on twitter, facebook, etc.

    It makes me so sad that the inhumane treatment of animals is often commonplace and acceptable in our society. I saw a little tan doggie get hit today on the way home from school. A little chihuahua looking dog. He came sailing over the median into the HOV lane, smack into an oncoming car. Dogs don't fly, so I assume he was tossed out of a car.


    • Mary, I'm so sorry that you had to see this tragedy. It makes me sick to think of that poor little dog. Thanks for helping to spread the word about Tony. We couldn't help that little pup, but we can make a difference for this tiger.

  • MRP says:

    Please keep us informed of anymore info about this. I have acted.

  • Kim Clune says:

    I just want to share what Dee DiSantis,from Tony the Tiger’s Facebook page, said on about Sandlin’s quest for a female tiger:

    “While Tiger Truck Stop’s website asks for a donation of a female tiger,LA state law (LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 76, §115) prohibits the aquisition of any more exotic cats: “Only those exotic cats legally possessed on August 15, 2006 will be permitted. Additional exotic cats cannot be acquired by any means whatsoever, including breeding.” Today the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a petition on behalf of Tony with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, requesting that they revoke, and deny renewal of, the permit allowing Michael Sandlin to exhibit Tony.

    Thankfully, the cycle won’t go any further. Now we just have to get Tony out since he’s been “grandfathered in” to captivity.

  • Michele says:

    Signed, noted, and commented! This is an important story, and it just makes me so mad that this person can treat another living creature this way. Tigers are endangered. I used to live in LA, and this makes me ashamed.

    • Thank you, Michele. I agree – this is a hard one to wrap your head around. Tony's owner doesn't appear to have any compassion for him, just considers him a marketing ploy. It's really sad. I just hope that the officials will respond to the public outcry and force him to release this poor tiger.

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