Leonardo Speaks Out For Tony: “We Need to Act Now”

Posted by Lisa Franzetta, ALDF's Director of Communications on April 29, 2011

Award-winning actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio is the latest high-profile supporter to join the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s campaign to free Tony the tiger, who has spent the last decade at Louisiana’s Tiger Truck Stop.

Yesterday, Leo wrote to his 1.5 million Facebook supporters:

Have you heard about Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger living at a truck stop in Louisiana? This tiger has been living in a small inadequate and inhumane enclosure alone since 2003. We need to help the Animal Legal Defense Fund in urging the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the permit that allows this. http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5154/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6207

The star of Titanic, The Aviator, and Inception also reached out to his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, tweeting

Leonardo DiCaprio Tweets for Tony

On May 5, ALDF will square off against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in East Baton Rouge District Court over the legality of a permit that allows Tony, a ten-year old Siberian-Bengal tiger, to be confined as a roadside exhibit at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La. ALDF is arguing that the Department violated state law in granting the permit to Tony’s owner, Michael Sandlin. Sign the petition to help free Tony today! And stay tuned all next week for updates on Tony’s case!

26 thoughts on “Leonardo Speaks Out For Tony: “We Need to Act Now”

  1. eliza howard says:

    Many thanks to all that advocate for Tony. We must never stop roaring for him.

  2. Thank you ALDF for standing up for Tony….we are behind you and will roar with you…always.
    Thank you Leonardo…..very much……

    “In fact, if one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.” — Ruth Harrison

  3. Rina Deych, RN says:

    Thank you to Leonardo for speaking for Tony the Tiger! It’s unbelievable the cruelties we perpetuate on non-human animals. Thank you for expanding the consciousness of the public! I hope it wins Tony many supporters and ultimately his freedom!

  4. Many many thanks for the action you take for the tigers. Especialy for tiger Tony!!! Please don´t stop to Roar for him, don´t stop to fight for him don´t stop to be there for him until he is free from this terrible abuse under which he is at this terrible place. So many people all over the world Roar for a free Tony, and it is good to know you bysite Tony …

    Thorsten Kassebeer

  5. Dawn Flann says:

    ALDF You have the Thanks of thousands upon thousands who have Come Together for the Freedom of this Tiger. So many Countries around the World now know about Tony and the horrific life he has had for almost 11 years now. This life, this existence has taken its toll on Tony, and I pray to God, it is not too late for him. Please Never Give up until he is out of that Truck Stop. Our Deepest Thanks and Appreciation for trying to Save this Tiger’s Life. We all ROAR with you!!!

  6. Thank you Mr. DiCaprio for voicing your disapproval of Tony’s exploitation at the truck stop and your support of The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s campaign to help Tony be relocated to an accredited big cat sanctuary. Mr. DiCaprio’s Facebook post for Tony has generated over 500 comments and 3200 plus “likes” – raising more awareness and support for Tony. ALDF: Thank you so much for your dedication to Tony. We all hope Tony will soon know a life of peace and respect with the care he so needs and deserves.

  7. Stacey says:

    Thank you everyone who is helping to free Tony the tiger.
    Never stop fighting. One day with everyones help he will be free, out of that horrible place, into a more natural place for a tiger.
    Lets all roar for Tony.

  8. Sam says:

    I hope that with all the none-stop attention Tony and the truck stop owner have been getting lately, he’ll finally break and send Tony to a rescue sanctuary. And YAY for Leo =D. This country is weak to their celebrities so hopefully Leo will be able to get things going.

  9. tori lewsader says:

    The amount of support thanks to Mr. DiCapprio brings tears to my eyes. ROAR!

  10. Kathy says:

    I thank God Mr. DiCapprio is on board. This has gone on far too long and Tony needs to live out the rest of his life in comfort and having fun!

  11. Lynn says:

    Thank-you so much for your support in Tony the Tigers pitiful case. The in-humane things that some humans inflict on innocent creatures is unbelievable. It is about time that beautiful animal has some peace. The BCR rescue sounds like heaven on earth for these precious cats. We need more Celebrities to help stop this ;-)) So Thank-You again!!

  12. Tom Pecena says:

    After reading this sickening article, I googled Tiger Truck Stop and got their number (225-648-2312) and called. I asked one question, “when is the tiger going to be set free” and got hung up on. Perhaps someone else can call and get an answer from them.

  13. Barbara McNamara says:

    Thank you everyone for Helping Tony. I know the best will happen for this stunning creature .

  14. Lisa Stuart says:

    A big “ROAR” for Tony!

  15. Martha Hoffman Skinner says:

    Thank you for taking a stand regarding Tony the Truck Stop tiger. He is now a senior feline and deserves to be sent to a sanctuary where he can live out his years in peace without gas fumes, noises from trucks, spotlight on him 24/7, people taunting him and he can enjoy some enrichment objects so he won’t be stressed by a boring life. Let’s all hope this will be the year Tony comes out a winner!

  16. Stephanie B. Scott says:

    Today, I called the Truck Stop at the phone number provided in a previous comment posted here. A man answered and I asked him if they have decided to do the right thing and turn the tiger over to a sanctuary and he asked why.

    I said that a Siberian tiger cannot be kept under such cruel confinement in such a loud,
    toxic environment and they should do the right thing and give the tiger to a sancturary.

    He said in the happiest voice he could find:
    “You sound like a lovely school teacher. You have a lovely day.” And he hung up.

    I called back and this time, a woman answered the phone. She said that an activist had called and threatened her life. She said the state police were on their way over there.

    I recorded our conversation from that point on
    so that I can transcribe it if useful.
    She said they will not release the tiger. Said that it has “air and food and it’s owner
    loves it.” She could not see anything cruel about its confinement. Said if they can keep them in zoos and universities, I should call all the people who keep them, not the truck stop.

    She said there are children in the world starving and I should be doing something about that instead because the tiger better fed and cared for than half the starving children in the world.

    I said they should take the easy way out & release Tony to a sanctuary because now, word of this has gone out around the country and the world and they will soon find themselves in a fight they can’t win. And I told them that if they continue to refuse to cooperate they can expect lawsuits to be filed against them.

    These people are hopeless to permeate with logic or thoughts of compassion. In their limited view, they can see nothing at all cruel about the tiger’s confinement there and have no intention of giving it up.

    Each of us should continue calling the truck stop and let them feel the harassment the tiger endures each day. And most important, call the Louisiana Wildlife phone/contact number provided on this ALDF website and
    plea for the tiger’s release.

    BTW, the woman noticed I have a private number, not displayed on her phone. She said
    “we are answering our phone, how would you like it, if I called you back and harassed you in return. Just a heads up if you display your number you might want to call from a phone booth or an unlisted number.

    Go DeCaprio and all you people who will speak up for a voiceless tiger. God Bless all your efforts. Hang on Tony! The Cavalry is coming!

    The Scott Family, SF

  17. Barbara Scott says:

    Wow. I just called the animal emergency hotline at the LA Dept of Wildlife and reported a caged tiger at a truck stop. They said they would head over there now. They wanted the address of the Tiger Truck Stop and I found their home page
    at http://www.tigertruckstop.com.

    They now have an online petition on their site
    to help keep Tony. They claim on the petition page that “unscrupulous activists from out of State are trying to steal Tony from the only home he has known. Their real intention is to put him on display themselves far away from the people who hand raised him. We must stop them!…support private ownership and sign our online petition at http://www.savetony.com.

    Please call LA Dept of Wildlife secretary Robert Barham’s office at 225 765 2800 weekdays to request that the permit Tony’s “owner,” Michael Sandlin, holds be revoked so that the tiger can be placed where he belongs, in a proper wildlife sanctuary.

  18. Karen Deakins says:

    Thank you, ALDF for taking a stand for Tony. This beautiful boy needs medical care and a chance to start life for real…in a sanctuary.
    Since I joined this campaign to advocate for Tony last year, I have been amazed to see his story reach ever increasing audiences. He now has good people from all over the world concerned with his plight. We will continue to roar and we are so honored to have you roar with us!

  19. Holly Eaton says:

    Thank you, Leo, for speaking out for Tony. I hope that your calling attention to him will help advance his cause. Thank you for speaking up for those who have no voice.

  20. Meredith says:

    Thanks for helping to free Tony from the prison that he is in.

  21. Dawn Flann says:

    I sit here and read comments like “How the Truck Stop Replies when you call them”….saying Tony has air and Food etc…It is replies like that, that make it the Urgency it is, to get Tony out of there! Air and Food????? The Air is Toxic!!! That is why Tony is Sick!!! Have they not looked, really looked at him???..and Food they say??? They were starving him to death, until the USDA had to go and tell Sandlin to up his food intake because he was too skinny!!! USDA PLEASE GET TONY OUT OF THERE. PLEASE HELP HIM BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE…….HE NEEDS TO BE AS FAR AWAY FROM THESE PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE AND RECEIVE MEDICAL CARE ASAP :((((((((

  22. Kathryn says:

    I have signed all the petitions that I could find. I’ve been following this for a couple years now…..let’s all keep our hopes high for May 5th. That may very well be his saving grace. **keeping my fingers crossed and my hopes high** ROOOOAAAARRRRRR for Tony…..:)

  23. Patricia says:

    Yeah..so glad to hear that Tony will finally have his ROAR heard in court. I am praying that he will finally be released somewhere he can run and be free!!!!!

    God bless the voices of the people who care…it can move mountains..!!!!!

    I am praying for you Tony..!!♥♥♥♥♥

  24. KatieRinFL says:

    Leo, thank you so very much. There are so many people that have been fighting for this for a decade. This victory is long overdue. Thank you ALDF, for everything you do, especially this.

  25. BJ Lyle says:

    I have been visiting Rainbow & Toby at the Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete, Louisiana since the 70’s. Is this ths same tiger? Or another one? At one time they had a contest & drawing for the tiger cub that Rainbow & Toby had. Not sure if this is the same tiger or not. If it is, what happened to Rainbow (the famale tiger)?

  26. John Smith says:

    This is such “BULL SHIT”. Michael Sandlin has taken care of this tiger for a long time and the tiger is in now way harmed by the “so called diesel and such”. If everyone would stop sticking their damned noses where it doesn’t belong, everything would be just fine. But as u know, there always has to be people that thinks they know better than everyone else.

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