Victory! ALDF Wins Freedom for Tony the Truck Stop Tiger

Tony, the 10-year-old Siberian Bengal tiger who’s been at the heart of an ongoing catfight over his living conditions at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La., has had his freedom granted!

On Friday, May 6, District Judge R. Michael Caldwell of the East Baton Rouge District Court granted the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) request for a permanent injunction against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), preventing them from renewing the annual permit that allows Michael Sandlin to keep Tony as of this December 14. 

Unbeknownst to Tony, he’s garnered the attention of people around the world who have been fighting to have him freed from the concrete cell he’s spent his entire life in for years. Unfortunately, officials have bent the rules and looked the other way when it came to the Tiger Truck Stop. 

Despite state laws preventing private ownership of exotic animals, Sandlin was grandfathered in by the LDWF because he owned Tony before the laws were enacted in 2006, leaving Tony, who’s been alone since 2003, stuck.

This April, the ALDF stepped up to intervene on Tony’s behalf by filing a lawsuit against the LDWF and its secretary Robert Barham arguing that granting Sandlin a permit in the first place violated state law. 

Warren Triche, a former Louisiana Representative, who authored the state’s law that led to the ban on the private ownership of tigers, and two other residents were co-plaintiffs. 

“Today, the law was upheld in the state of Louisiana, which has explicit regulations designed to protect tigers like Tony,” said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “It is an incredible victory for ALDF, the tens of thousands around the world who have supported this campaign, and most of all, for Tony. We eagerly look forward to the day that he leaves behind the noise and fumes of the Tiger Truck Stop for a new life of freedom that he has never known.”

The ALDF plans to work with the LDWF to find the best home for Tony and will make recommendations on sanctuaries where Tony can live out the rest of his days in an environment that can actually meet his needs. 


Related Stories: 

Lawsuit Filed to Free Truck Stop Tiger

Days Left to Help Save Truck Stop Tiger

Speak Up for a Big Cat: A Truck Stop is No Place for a Tiger!


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Helga Kordjukova
Helga Kordjukova2 months ago

Thank you. Waiting for a video released by Tony !

Mary Cromley
.about a year ago

This article is over three years old, and poor Tony is still at the truckstop. The headline is misleading, and it should have not been used now.

Julie C.
Julie C.about a year ago

So is he really free or not? This clickbait is not worthy of Care2.

Angela Padovani
Angela Padovaniabout a year ago

Here is a link to the update of Sept 2014. Tony is still in his cage and not free. This is 3 years after this article was written. So sad. Tony is now 14. Here is link to update:

Barbara D.
Past Member about a year ago

Well, this was one big, bloody buzzkill, Care2 !! Why on earth would you put a 3yr old article like this on your *more from* selections??????

Tony is STILL suffering in his filthy, stinking LA cage.

clifford/christ schmutz

When will this poor tiger be released to a reputable sanctuary. Many think it has already happened but it hasn't. He is still there while the courts/lawyers play games re his freedom. Give Tony FREEDOM NOW!!!!

Jav R.
Jav R.1 years ago


Kati T.
Kati Taylor3 years ago

Poor Tony, being pulled out of the only home he's ever known to go live with strangers where he won't get the care and attention he gets in his current home!


I am voting for "Big Cat" as there are no other exotic animal sanctuary choices and any place has to be better than 11 years of loneliness at a diesel truck stop. As quickly as possible, other excellent sanctuaries should be checked out. Any idea of when this transfer will take place. Go, St. Francis!!!

Past Member
Mary Lodato3 years ago

I've been to Big Cat Rescue and my previous veterinarian was one of their veterinarians until she retired and moved away. I've found BCR as good as any other animal sanctuaries. None of the animals were pacing and they all seemed to be in great health. They offer their animals a lot of enrichments. The "employees" are volunteers and I'm sure if any of us volunteered there we would have a limited knowledge of the facility and it's inhabitants unless we were zoologists. They have never had an "accidental death" like Busch Gardens and they do not breed their animals or allow them to breed like "Wild Things Rescue" in Dade City which uses allowing the public to interact and take pictures with baby animals in order to make money off of them. After I mistakenly visited them once, I got 2 or 3 calls over a short period of time, encouraging me to come see their baby whatever!