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Free Tony the Tiger

Tiger Truck Stop Tony - Photo: Big Cat RescueTony, a tiger held at the Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete, Louisiana, lives in a chain link and concrete cell surrounded by idling truck engines and diesel fumes – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Tony can never escape the noise, the flood lights and the boredom as he paces back and forth. Due to the harassment he receives, a sign asks people not to throw rocks at him.

Carole Baskin, Founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue of Tampa FL , has offered Tony sanctuary but Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin, refuses.


In December 2010, the permit allowing Sandlin to continue his exploitation of Tony is up for renewal. Please write Louisiana representatives to deny this renewal and to end to the private trade of tigers.

  • Send a letter (using Big Cat Action Alert’s one-step form) urging the USDA, Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife Service and more to end to the trade in tigers in private hands.
  • Sign the petition (closes Dec. 31) calling for the denial of Micheal Sandlin’s permit.
  • Share this story with friends and ask them to act too on Facebook Twitter and YouTube.


Iberville Parish Council passed legislation in 1993 that prohibits private ownership and display of exotic animals, including tigers. When animal welfare groups attempted to have the law enforced, Sandlin fought for an exemption.  The Iberville Parish Council amended the law in his favor on 14 December, 2009. Sandlin’s website now asks that a female be donated for breeding to perpetuate the exploitive cycle. According to Big Cat Rescue, there already more tigers languishing in captivity than in the wild.

This is where Tony lives now.


And this is where he could live. Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue of Tampa, FL talks about the care these tigers require and the need for legislation and enforcement to spare them from the perils of exploitation and abuse.


Lend your voice for Tony today. Together, we can push those in power to make the last 5-10 years of this caged tiger’s life a peaceful experience and stop future abuse. never asks you to spend a cent, just a few minutes of your time.
It’s the greatest gift you can give.

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About Author

Kim CluneKim Clune co-founded Be the Change for Animals in May of 2010 to coalesce the online community of enthusiastic animal advocates. Acting locally, Kim co-founded Dog House Adoptions to serve stray dogs and often heal people of New York’s Capital Region through the bond of unconditional love. She also celebrates many special human/animal connections through her personal blog, This One Wild Life, writing, photographing and sharing videos since 2009.View all posts by Kim Clune →

  1. Doreen

    With your permission, I would like to post this on my blog.

    • admin

      Doreen, you have full permission – always – to share our causes. Thank you for spreading awareness.

  2. Dee

    Thank you for featuring Tony The Truck Stop Tiger as your weekly cause. Networking Tony’s story and gaining support for him is so important and is truly appreciated. While Tiger Truck Stop’s website asks for a donation of a female tiger,LA state law (LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 76, §115) prohibits the aquisition of any more exotic cats: “Only those exotic cats legally possessed on August 15, 2006 will be permitted. Additional exotic cats cannot be acquired by any means whatsoever, including breeding.” Today the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a petition on behalf of Tony with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, requesting that they revoke, and deny renewal of, the permit allowing Michael Sandlin to exhibit Tony.

    • admin

      Thanks for this update, Dee. It is, indeed, good news. Now we can focus our efforts solely on Tony.

  3. Karen

    Thank you so much for featuring Tony as your weekly cause. Networking TOGETHER, we can do this. Everyone reading, please sign the petition, repost this to your blog, website or Facebook page. We must ROAR for Tony!

  4. eliza

    Thank you for posting about Tony.

    • admin

      Doreen, your help in spreading the word is appreciated, always. Thank you.

  5. Dawn Flann
    Dawn Flann11-23-2010

    Thank you for Featuring this Beautiful Tiger.
    Everyone Keep Taking Action for Tony. Never stop this Fight until that Truckstop is no longer his cell…..
    Tony has become a love for people throughout the World. He has won the Hearts of People Worldwide……Everywhere except the State of Louisiana where he has lived all Ten years of his life as a Gimmick. Purely for greed and selfishness. It is time for this to end. It is time for Tony to feel peace and the Dignity he had robbed from him since birth.
    The world Loves you Tony, and the World is watching and waiting Louisiana…..

  6. Valeria

    HLN report on Tony the Truck Stop Tiger:
    My parents were visiting my aunt in Texas and went through Louisiana on their way home just a few days ago. They stopped to see Tony the truck stop tiger in Grosse Tete this morning and took photos. They said that his “swimming pool” is a water trough that you’d have for a horse, and two little kids were there throwing stones at Tony and my mother had to tell them to stop. I wonder how many times a day that happens to poor Tony?? :*( I guess those two kids were the “domestic terrorists” and “animal activists” that Sandlin was talking about on the HLN interview?? They also said that all Tony did was pace back and forth, which is stereotypical behavior for confined animals, and they also said that the semi trucks are parked very close to his cage, where he has to breathe in the diesel fumes 24/7. No animal should be forced to live like that….

    • admin

      The HLN piece just demonstrates Sandlin’s lack of compassion, logic and reason. Because he can’t see the problem is exactly why he shouldn’t have this tiger in his care.

  7. Cheryl

    OMG I can’t believe people can treat a poor innocent tiger this way I am close to crying while typing this Tony is so beautiful he does not deserve this kind of life he doesn’t even know what is to have his freedom they robbed him off it. I hope they do the right thing by Tony but I doubt they will Tony deserves his freedom and I pray that he gets the freedom he deserves

  8. Eltha

    Take action right now !

  9. Ana Cristina
    Ana Cristina11-25-2010

    :( this is so sad….

  10. JoAnne

    Please everyone let’s all work together to get this beautiful animal in a Sanctuary NOW!!!!

  11. Vilelyn

    WTF? is this legal in the United States? Do they not have animal protection laws?…this is cruelty without a doubt!
    I am sure that there is a special place in hell for this Michael Sandlin dude…. How can someone with a heart see this everyday and when offered a way out (sanctuary for Tony), refuse… a55hole!

  12. Mary

    I posted this on my facebook i hope that is ok if not i can take it down.

    • admin

      Mary, thank you for posting. In fact, post it everywhere!

  13. Yu Li
    Yu Li11-25-2010

    Can someone please put their foot down to animal cruelty? This is outragous. Let’s work together & stop this from happening now & in the future.

  14. Lisa

    Unreal!! The nerve of some people…poor kitty!!!!

  15. Michelle

    This is disgusting!! I can’t believe that this guy is getting away with this! Something has to be done about this.

  16. eliza

    We have to get Tony to a sanchuary.He need us now go to his fb pages for info..
    Everyone spread the word to help Tony. ROAR FOR TONY!!!!

  17. delia


  18. Kathrine

    Animals should never be caged. The ahole who cages the tiger should have to live in the cage day and night. Please release this tiger from captivity!

  19. libby stubbs
    libby stubbs11-26-2010

    Please free this poor animal, no animal deserves this, have a heart and do the right thing, this is pure torture, so cruel and unnecessary

  20. Christy

    This makes me so sad. Animals like Tony are ment to be in the wild where they have what they need, NOT A CAGE, where people can throw rocks. What is this world comming to.. :(

  21. Amy Schultz
    Amy Schultz11-26-2010

    hey omg im like in can people have some nerve to hurt beaiful animal like seriosuly..people make me soo angery, hateful. cus im huge animal lover..this is soooo sad!!! they should take tiger out cage now!! give it good healthy place to live…people should be punished by throwing rocks and bein cruel to animals!! come on did tiger ever do to people??!!! god people got evil cold hearts!! ..this is upsetting! i hope that tiger gets a chance to get out of cage!! be free!

  22. Tennessee

    I cannot beleive that the Louisiana government would allow this to happen. After all of the talk they did about the oil spill in the gulf and how it was affecting their wildlife, you would think that they would be just as worried about purposeful cruelty towards an animal that is an endangered species. This is hypocritical polotics at its worst. I am ashamed of how people can be so thoughtless. I will definately be posting the link to this on every website that I have to make sure the people I know can see for themselves what is being allowed to happen. Hopefully they will try to help this poor creature out as well.

  23. Angela

    Sadder is the thought that a truck stop needs a tiger to attract patrons. I’m not above having a gimmick to attract people to a spectacle the roads are full of them, but the use of an animal in these conditions is beyond normal decency. It seems the focus needs to shift from the tiger to the truck stop, but protests and boycotts only serve to draw more looky-lous than actually end than conflict. Someone needs to buy the truck stop from the owner, with the stipulation Tony be sent to the Big Cat Rescue. In no way should this man be allowed to breed his tiger.

  24. noriko

    sad vudeo

  25. chama chan
    chama chan11-28-2010

    Why is it even possible that the US goverment even allows a private person to “own” a tiger and keep it under such conditions? Unbelievable!

  26. sue nethercott
    sue nethercott11-28-2010

    This is so sad & deploarable. This should not be happening in a humane world.
    Please please FREE T0NY!

  27. Soledad

    Can I post this is my facebook and twitter to pass on the word and help Tony? This is really sad and he should not be trapped in that cage, we the people need to help those animals in need. They can not talk for themselves but we can try to speak for them.

    • admin

      Soledad, please post this everywhere you like. Ask your friends to do the same. And thank you for sharing Tony’s story!

  28. Dee

    I’d like to thank everyone for their great support here for Tony and Kim Clune for featuring Tony. It’s so important that Tony’s story

  29. Dee

    I apologize for the last incomplete comment. My cat Tony decided to to help me out by walking across the keyboard.

    It’s very important for Tony’s story to reach as many people as possible and gain support. Hopefully with the support of the Animal Legal Defense Fund Big Cat Rescue and people all over the world voicing their concern for Tony, this display of animal exploitation will end and Tony will have the care, home, life and respect he deserves.

    Tony is one of thousands of privately owned tigers in the United States. States laws regarding private ownership of big cats vary from state to state. For more information visit

    Thank you again.

    • admin

      Dee, thank you for the kind message. It is an honor to work toward your goals by making them ours as well. While our members’ response this week has been incredible, we know how important it is to keep the pressure on. Tony will be mentioned again in our Monthly Review tomorrow. We hope this garners him more attention beyond his featured week with us. We’ll be tracking the progress of all the people/organizations working so hard toward his release. Thank you for everything you’re doing.

      Kim and Amy

  30. August Woolworth
    August Woolworth11-29-2010

    hello I come with bing . blog is very simple.Thank you for occupation.

  31. rose port
    rose port11-29-2010

    this is so sad,heartbreaking.

  32. Charlotte

    How can we call ourselves human and allow things like this to happen?
    Thank you for spreading the awareness. I came by way of twitter.

  33. Andrea

    I cannot believe he’s been there for 10 years! This is the first I’m hearing about it. If there are other people in the Louisiana area, I’d like to start protesting the truck stop. Anyone?

  34. rose port
    rose port11-29-2010

    if i lived there and not in uk i would sure be with you Andrea,its unreal how some people can treat our dear animals.put him in a cage i say

  35. Ruth McD
    Ruth McD11-30-2010

    Thank you for letting people know about Tony and to set him free from that horrible cage and breathing in truck fumes. I really hope that terrible man at the truck stop doesn’t get his license to keep Tony renewed. That would be so wrong. We are voices for Tony.

  36. NC

    Isn’t there anything legal to be done for that poor animal? Has the ASPCA been informed about Tony?

  37. NC

    And I just blogged about this:

  38. Debra

    Thank You for helping Tony! Enough is enough and this blatent act of animal abuse must end!

  39. Tracy B
    Tracy B12-01-2010

    This is blatant cruelty even thogh it appears that Tony has it better than some animals held in captivity (ie his cage area appears spacious and he has access to drinking water, shade and a grassed area) he should not have to suffer the environment he is surrounded by. WHY do ppl insist on abusing animals?

  40. Sydney

    This is incredible. The countries that still host the critically endangered tiger have recently convened for a “Tiger Summit” to see what they can do to save the species, and some redneck at a truckstop gets to legally cage this beautiful and rare animal? This has got to stop.

    What’s more, people are THROWING ROCKS at him? What is wrong with them?

  41. NinadobrevFan

    That`s unbelieveable. How can ppl do this to such a gorgeous animal like him ? That has to stop. Let`s help Tony !!!

  42. Samer R.
    Samer R.12-06-2010

    I just wanted to point out the petition on behalf of Tony at:

    There are over 30,000 (!) signatures, many from all over the world, demanding that Tony be set free.

  43. ninel

    It’s all very horrible and such cases of cruelty to animals unfortunately very much. Here’s another hideous example of human cruelty!

  44. Saphiea

    I cannot believe this. Its so sad. :(

  45. rose port
    rose port02-07-2011

    please could you tell me if there have been any update on it has been up for renewal by now.

    • Kim Clune
      Kim Clune02-07-2011

      Hi Rose,

      Tony’s permit was renewed for another year but the fight still continues. Let’s hope our call is stronger before the next time Fish and Wildlife reissues.

  46. rose port
    rose port02-07-2011

    thats heartbreaking.poor tony.wish i could do more,thank you kim x