Grosse Tete truck stop owner wants new tiger

Tony: Truck Stop Tiger

The Advocate reports: A judge in Baton Rouge to rule on state’s big cat ban as Grosse Tete truck stop pushes for new tiger.

The state judge said last Tuesday she’ll rule on the legality of Louisiana’s big cat ban after hearing arguments from attorneys for the state, an animal rights group and an Iberville Parish truck stop owner who wants to house another tiger at the facility in the wake of Tony the tiger’s death there last fall.

The 2006 state law bans private ownership of large and exotic cats, but Tony—who was euthanized in October—was living at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete several years before the ban went into effect.

A measure passed during the 2014 legislative session and signed into law by former Governor Bobby Jindal allowed Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin to keep only Tony. The law said Sandlin could not obtain more tigers after Tony dies.

Sandlin contends the state’s 2006 big cat ban is unconstitutional; the state and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) maintain it is legal.

District Judge Janice Clark, of Baton Rouge, met with attorneys for the state, the ALDF and Sandlin and set up a schedule for them to deliver written and oral arguments.

Clark said she would issue a ruling after all arguments are presented.

Outside the courtroom, ALDF lawyer Tarak Anada said that “the advocacy group is aligned with the state when it comes to Louisiana’s big cat ban. It forbids anyone other than colleges, sanctuaries, zoos, wildlife research centers and scientific organizations from possessing big exotic cats. The big cat ban is constitutional.”

Tony, a 550-pound Bengal tiger lived at the truck stop for 17 years. Tony struggled with arthritis as he aged and stopped eating. After his health took a sharp decline due to kidney failure Tony was euthanized.

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