On Wednesday, Judge Michael Caldwell of the East Baton Rouge District Court ruled in favor of a motion filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to free Tony, a siberian-bengal tiger, from his concrete prison at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, LA, where he exists as an attraction for his owner Michael Sandlin.
The ruling will force the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to revoke the permit that has allowed Sandlin to keep Tony for all these years. Not only will the current permit be revoked, but the LDWF will also be prohibited from issuing the Tiger Truck Stop any new permits to keep tigers.
Tony has lived at the Tiger Truck Stop since 2000, he’s been alone there since 2003. His plight has garnered the attention of travelers, animal lovers and celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio and Kristin Bauer who have been fighting for years to have him freed from the cage where he’s been stuck surrounded by the constant sound and smell of trucks and diesel engines.
Last May, Caldwell issued a similar ruling granting the ALDF’s request for a permanent injunction against the LDWF, preventing them from renewing Sandlin’s annual permit as of December on the grounds that it was illegal for them to issue one in the first place, but the Louisiana Court of Appeals overturned the ruling on the basis that Sandlin should have been part of the lawsuit, which led to a new trial.
“We are thrilled that the court made the right decision,” said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We will continue to do everything we can to make sure Tony’s next home is a reputable, accredited sanctuary that can give Tony the life he deserves.”
Photo credit: arnybo via flickr