The battle over an Iberville Parish truckstop owner keeping a 550-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger in a 700-square-foot enclosure is in court in Baton Rouge Thursday.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed suit against Louisiana Department Wildlife and Fisheries last month challenging the agency’s granting of a “Possession of Potentially Dangerous Wild Quadrupeds, Big Exotic Cats and Non-Human Primates” permit to Michael Sandlin in late 2009. LDWF ruled that Sandlin should be grandfathered in because he owned the cat prior to the enactment of a 2006 state law prohibiting private ownership of big cats and other exotic animals.
But the Portland, Ore.-based group is challenging Sandlin’s legal ownership of the animal citing a 1993 ordinance in Iberville Parish that also prohibits exotic-animal ownership. If Sandlin didn’t legally own the 10-year-old Tony due to the Iberville law, the suit reasons, he cannot legally be grandfathered in and granted a permit from the state.
“Louisiana has explicit regulations designed to protect tigers like Tony, and the department has disregarded state law and misused taxpayer money in arbitrarily granting the permit that allows Michael Sandlin to keep Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells in a press release. “We are heading to court to ensure that Tony is no longer subjected to diesel fumes, harassment and the unimaginable suffering of life in his lonely cage.”
This week ALDF presented LDWF with a petition bearing more than 31,000 signatures urging the state to revoke Sandlin’s license. The animal-rights group’s mission has drawn the support of such high profile advocates as actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Former state Rep. Warren Triche, who authored the 2006 state law banning private ownership of exotic animals, is a co-plaintiff along with two state residents. A Baton Rouge law firm is providing pro bono assistance with the litigation.
Stay tuned to theind.com for updates on this story.
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OCT 31 The National Journal posts another story from its visit to NOLA, this one about the struggling Vietnamese shrimpers in the area. The publication has been looking at how the state is recovering from Katrina, nine years later.
OCT 31 The New York Times posts this look at Louisiana politics, and how national issues are forcing out the old-time local politicking. Of course they mention EWE, aptly described as an old-time politician known for "charming one half of the state and mortifying the other."
OCT 31 Here's an AP story on the ABC site about Louisiana's chicken little response to an international medical conference planned in NOLA this weekend. Organizers (who are actual physicians, as opposed to the hand-wringing state officials who issued the edicts) say the orders are "unfortunate" given that a main focus of the meeting was Ebola.
OCT 31 Given the things Bobby Jindal has said and done since he's been governor, it's a pretty safe bet he thinks we're a bunch of dummies. Apparently, he's sure President Obama is one, too. This story on Huff Post quotes Jindal as saying the president - a graduate of Harvard Law - should sue to get his money back. (What should a Brown biology grad who doesn't believe in evolution do?)
OCT 31 Us old folks are used to a two-party system, although most of us aren't sold on its success. But what if that system wasn't in place; what if politics reflected the true level of diversity among voters? That's what an LSU student is dreaming of in this editorial. He sees the two parties' control of our politics as limiting.
OCT 31 And you thought the Senate race was dirty. This post on the Forward Now blog tells the story of a Shreveport mayoral campaign worker who was paid to "infiltrate" and "sabotage" an opponent's campaign. Karma's a beeotch, though, because turns out the guy really liked the "enemy," and now he's supporting her. For real.
OCT 30 The National Journal offers this analysis of Bobby Jindal's willingness to stump in any Senate campaign that's not in Louisiana. Why is that? The Journal asks some GOPers and finds that the answer is one we already know: he's so unpopular here, because he's been so busy running for President, that his support might be "toxic."
OCT 30 Blogger Tom Aswell is still all over the OGB mess - and all by himself, apparently. In this post, he's revealing orders from the Jindal administration to destroy records from the state employee health insurance plan. Those orders (he's heard) have angered the Secretary of State and caused an administration lawyer to quit her job. Wow!
OCT 30 A NOLA lady has alleged she was drugged and raped at a Bywater club that had a clothing-optional policy until recently, and she's now become the victim of a smear campaign, columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes in this post. She chose to reveal her story and her name, and she's being punished for that now, he says.
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