This week in awesome: Truckstop tiger granted freedom
A Baton Rouge judge Friday granted a permanent injunction preventing the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries from renewing a truckstop owner’s license to keep a 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger in a 700-square-foot enclosure at his Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete. The ruling by District Judge Mike Caldwell means, barring an appeal, that Michael Sandlin will have to get rid of Tony the tiger in December when the permit lapses. Caldwell denied the plaintiffs’ motion that the permit be revoked immediately. Court costs were assessed against LDWF.
The ruling is a huge victory for Portland, Ore.-based Animal Legal Defense Fund, which filed suit against LDWF last month seeking to free Tony. According to ALDF spokeswoman Lisa Franzetta, ALDF will try to work with LDWF in December to find a good home for the tiger. Many supporters of the animal’s emancipation have lobbied to have him transferred to a big-cat sanctuary.
Tiger Truck Stop once boasted as many as six tigers and has long been the target of animal rights supporters. In 2009, LDWF ruled that Sandlin’s cat clink should be grandfathered and not subject to a new state law barring private ownership of exotic animals. ALDF challenged Sandlin’s legal ownership of the animal citing a 1993 ordinance in Iberville Parish that also prohibits exotic-animal ownership. The suite posited that if Sandlin didn’t legally own the 10-year-old Tony due to the Iberville law, he couldn't legally be grandfathered in and granted a permit from the state. Judge Caldwell found Sandlin in violation of the section of law requiring the owner to live on the premises where the exotic animal is caged.
Former state Rep. Warren Triche, who authored the 2006 state law banning private ownership of exotic animals, was a co-plaintiff along with two state residents. A Baton Rouge law firm is provided pro bono assistance with the litigation.
“Today, the law was upheld in the state of Louisiana, which has explicit regulations designed to protect tigers like Tony,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells in a press release heralding the ruling. “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.”
No word yet on whether Sandlin plans to appeal.
To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.
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.
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly