Tiger Truck Stop loses appeal, is closer to being closed

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  May/June 2013:

NEW ORLEANS––Twenty-five years of protest and litigation against live tiger displays at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete,  Louisiana,  inched closer to resolution with an April 25,  2013 ruling by a three-judge panel representing the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal that truck stop owner Michael Sandlin does not have a valid permit to keep a 12-year-old tiger named Tony on the premises.

The verdict,  signed by Circuit Judges J.E. “Duke” Welch and Randolph H. Parro,  and retired Judge William F. Kline Jr.,  upheld a November 2011 ruling by 19th Judicial District Judge Michael Caldwell that a 2006 state law prevents the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries from renewing Sandlin’s permit to house Tony.  Sandlin claims to have held federal and state permits to exhibit Tony since 1988.  A 1993 Iberville Parish ordinance,  however,  prohibits keeping “wild, exotic or vicious animals for display or for exhibition.”  The 2006 Louisiana law allows possession of exotic cats as pets only if they were kept legally before the law took effect on August 15,  2006.

While upholding most of the Caldwell verdict,  the appellate panel overturned his decision to allow the California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund to intervene in the case on behalf of four Louisiana plaintiffs.  ALDF attorney Matthew Liebman told Janet McConnaughey of Associated Press that this was a “footnote,”  because ALDF also represents the four individuals.

Attorney Jennifer Treadway Morris,  representing Sandlin,  said she would request a re-hearing,  and if a re-hearing is not granted,  appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court.  Sandlin has also filed a case challenging the validity of the 2006 law.

Tony,  the last of 13 tigers housed at the Tiger Truck Stop since 1988,  will remain there until the litigation ends. Tony has been alone at the Tiger Truck Stop since 2003,  when three other tigers were sent to Tiger Haven in settlement of alleged federal Animal Welfare Act violations.

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