Students Speak Up for Tony the Tiger

Posted by Jennifer Molidor, ALDF Staff Writer on May 8, 2015

Animal lawyers aren’t the only ones roaring about cruelty to captive animals like Tony the tiger. Kids care too. Tony’s plight—being confined at a Louisiana truck stop parking lot—and ALDF’s ongoing legal battle to release him from that concrete nightmare got the attention of one awesome 4th grade class at Guilmette Elementary School in Massachusetts.


This spring, Ms. Buck’s 4th grade class used Tony’s cause to shape a persuasive writing and research project. Students were so excited about Tony, Ms. Buck says, the project “took on a life of its own.” Students created posters and circulated petitions as part of this project, and wrote letters to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, asking him to take Tony’s suffering seriously.

In particular, students were impressed by ALDF senior attorney Matthew Liebman’s work—Matthew has led Tony’s legal battle for years. Ms. Buck explains:

During their research, the students learned about the Animal Legal Defense Fund… as they read articles about Tony in which you were quoted. They suggested that I forward a sample of their work to you directly because they believe you will be supportive of their efforts.


The Animal Legal Defense Fund is touched and inspired by the dedication of these young advocates. Their letters urge fairness and humane treatment of animals like Tony, and his release to a reputable sanctuary. They also make persuasive arguments backed up with at least three points of solid evidence to prove their points and maintain a truly fair and balanced tone, appealing to the governor’s ethical and responsibility.

In conclusion, we respectfully ask you, Governor Jindal, to do what is right and fair. Hear our voice. –

Do you know how it feels to be locked up in a cage for 14 years? Tony does and that’s why I want Tony the Truck Stop Tiger to go to a sanctuary. –

[Tony’s owner Michael Sandlin] is threatening Tony’s and the public’s safety by keeping Tony. … In fact, Michael Sandlin got written up for “unsanitary feeding practices” by the USDA. –

Tony’s cage is like being locked up in jail. —


As Matthew told the children, “support from people like you keeps my spirits up and helps me keep fighting for his freedom. Your voices join thousands of people who are demanding that Tony be sent to a sanctuary. Sometimes, if enough people raise enough of a ruckus, things can change for the better. You should be proud of your contribution (and thankful you have a teacher who encourages this kind of civic participation). I hope Tony will one day be able to breathe clean air instead of diesel fumes and hear the grass rustling in the wind instead of the idling engines of trucks. Thanks for helping get him a step closer to that day!”

This outstanding class inspires each of us to keep fighting to protect animals. As Matthew says, “even though these battles can be frustrating and slow, don’t give up. The animals are counting on you to speak up for them. Your voice has power. Use it!”

Want to get your class involved in advocacy projects for animals? Check out ALDF’s brand-new youth advocacy action kit!

21 thoughts on “Students Speak Up for Tony the Tiger

  1. God bless you for your compassion and give Tony a better life. Hopefully he can become a vegetarian!

  2. Lynn says:

    So,is Tony still a prisoner? Where does his release to a sanctuary stand?

  3. Jean Vandom says:

    No animal should have to live that kind of life ,especially not something with that free of a spirit and for children to see that doesn’t say much us as humans, send him to a wildlife sanctuary to live his days out . Free him from the abuse.

  4. brenda haleyt says:

    Please give it the freedom it should have. We have no right to impose jail on innocent animals for our profit. I would go insane in a cage all my life. Please rescue it so it can enjoy some of its life before it is too late.

  5. Jacky says:

    Let this poor soul Free Please so He can have a few good Years i pray !

  6. Jacky says:

    This must stop …now !!!

  7. Judy Flanagan says:

    Free Tony the Tiger and place him in a Tiger Sanctuary where he can roam and know freedom.

  8. Katharine Moran says:

    free tony. he doesn’t deserve to live like this.

  9. Jürgen Teuschl says:

    Why can’t you see how he is suffering. Please try to see it from his perspektive, thank you.

  10. Valerie says:

    Michael Sandlin, it is time to think of Tony and what is best for him, instead of thinking of yourself. He deserves to be in an Accredited, Verified Sanctuary where he can live as close as he can to being what he is….a Tiger.I’m sure if your Truck Stop has merit, you don’t need Tony or any other wild animal to bring you a profit. Do the right thing please.

  11. Cecelia Shannon says:

    Please do the right thing and free Tony the Tiger.

  12. Maria d la P says:

    Es una crueldad, el tigre no merece eso, es un ser vivo
    no es un objeto el necesita vivir en libertad , POR FAVOR LIBÉRENLO !!!!

  13. Lucere Whitney says:

    Please make up for all the stress and despair this poor tiger has endured, and give him this. He has done his time, now it’s his turn. Having him in that small enclosure is exploiting him. It’s not doing anything for anyone. Only suffering for this poor animal. Please have Mercy on him. Please set him free to a natural sanctuary. Reward these children for their intelligence and compassion. Most everyone that see’s him is struck with the sadness of his pathetic existence. Just like these children, it’s a drain on people to experience the abuse that this animal is enduring. Virtually know one is comfortable with it. It looks really bad, and sends a message that is no longer appropriate. Please do right by this animal and these children. And, everyone else that has to witness it.

  14. Roxanne Murphy says:

    lock your self in a small cage for a day and you will get the feeling Tony has had all his life!

  15. sharon chang says:

    Tony the Tiger is a clear case of corruption!politicians allowing this to go on and on!i’m from Louisiana and i am ashamed of the whole situation!yes,i’ve signed petitions and sent emails to my crooked politicians!Jindal is a cold-blooded,money grubbing moron and doesn’t give a damn!

  16. This tiger has been stuck in a cage for many years!! He needs his FREEDOM IN A SANCTUARY NOW! Let him enjoy what few years he has left, this is animal abuse and cruelty being locked up in a cage all these years, probably have serious side effects because of this. Needs sanctuary to roam and strengthen his condition! PLEASE HELP TONY THE TIGER GET FREEDOM!!

  17. Lorraine Pelletier says:

    People who have any sort of humanity or compassion would never do something so cruel to an animal. These are beautiful intelligent creatures who deserve a life of freedom just as much as any human. How could anyone see this and think it’s “entertaining”? And worse how could anyone subject any animal to a life of torture like this. It sickens me. Do they have no animal cruelty laws in Louisiana??

  18. Joey Antonietti says:

    Proud of you all for bringing attention to Tonys plight, someone must help him NOW!! and out of the mouth of babes, by the good hearted children you are maybe someone will listen and help free Tony!!!!!! Please help Tony <3

  19. Rboo says:

    Tony needs to be set free now or he’ll never know what it’s like to roam before he dies. This is the most unjust, cruel torture that any poor tiger or any animal should endure.

  20. Harry schroeder says:

    Let the tiger go to the sanctuary. It will be the best free advertising you will ever get for your truck stop. People will love you for it.

  21. Thanks to these compassionate young people for caring about Tony and taking such wonderful measures to advocate on his behalf and to their teacher for providing such a wonderful animal advocacy project and selecting such an important issue – privately owned tigers in the U.S. As we say on Twitter – Tony IS the Captive Tiger Ambassador. Thank You Animal Legal Defense Fund for your dedicated & continued efforts to secure Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary. You have the support of Tony’s friends from all over the world.

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