What Is Best for Tony the Tiger?

Posted by Joyce Tischler, ALDF's Founder and General Counsel on November 7, 2011

Tony is an 11-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger.

For most of his life, he has lived in a cage at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. He is a roadside attraction.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has sued to get Tony out of that cage. We hope that Tony can be sent to a sanctuary, where he can live out his life in a more natural environment. Last week, we won our lawsuit in the East Baton Rouge District Court. The judge ordered the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries not to renew the annual permit that allows the truck stop to keep him in that cage, and ordered the Department to revoke the current permit.

Michael Sandlin, owner of Tiger Truck Stop, thinks Tony should stay at the truck stop. He says that’s Tony’s home and that people like to come and see him.

Many Americans view wild animals as “specimens” to be kept in a jar and brought out for us to gaze upon. There is something inherently wrong with that assumption and, to the extent that we can get inside the mind of a wild tiger stuck in a cage in Louisiana, let’s look at this situation from the perspective of what’s best for Tony.

According to National Geographic, there are only about 400-500 Siberian tigers and less than 2,500 Bengal tigers left in the wild. These sub-species are critically endangered. “Tigers live alone and aggressively scent-mark large territories to keep their rivals away. They are powerful hunters that travel many miles to find prey, such as elk and wild boar, on nocturnal hunts… Despite their fearsome reputation, most tigers avoid humans…”

This is worth repeating: in their natural habitat, tigers travel great distances to hunt and they avoid contact with human beings.

In contrast, let’s take a look at Tony’s environment.

You can see a video of Tony in his roadside cage:

Look closely at Tony. Do you notice the way he walks back and forth? That is called “stereotypic behavior,” repetitive or ritualistic movement, such as pacing or rocking. This is abnormal behavior; it is not the way Tony would act in his natural habitat and it is a sign that something is very wrong.

According to experts, “(p)ossible explanations…include that carnivore pacing represents frustrated escape attempts (to forage, range, reach a mate, or for any one of a host of reasons)” or because species that usually roam over a wide range of land have been “rendered more dysfunctional by captivity…” “Stereotypic Animal Behaviour – Fundamentals and Applications for Welfare” (2nd ed.) – eds. Georgia Mason and Jeff Rushen (CABI, 2006).

Tony is not a play-toy or a stuffed animal or large puppy hoping to get someone’s attention. He’s a tiger and he has been denied the basic right to be a tiger – a wild animal living and hunting according to his natural instincts in his native habitat. Can anyone seriously argue that a wild tiger wants to be spend his entire life stuck in a cage at a truck stop, inhaling gasoline fumes and having to be in close proximity to the human beings his instincts are telling him to run away from? Seriously?

And, while we’re on the subject, there are thousands of other wild animals exploited in this way all over the U.S. Once again, if you look closely, there are visible signs telling us why wild animals should not be in captivity: the recent incident in Ohio, where dozens of wild animals were let loose by their owner and slaughtered by local police; Tyke, the elephant who broke loose after years of performing tricks in the circus. Tyke killed one person, injured several others and was thereafter killed on the streets of Honolulu; Travis, the “pet” chimpanzee in Connecticut who attacked a woman and badly mutilated her face;  Tilikum, the captive orca (killer whale) at Orlando’s Sea World, who has killed three human beings so far. These are just a few of the incidents that serve as wake-up calls that wild animals have no place in captivity. Wild animals are being victimized every step of the way – by being removed from their native environments, by suffering in a life of captivity and, if they manage to escape, by being summarily killed.  

We want to do the right thing for Tony. He can no longer survive in the wild, but he can go to a reputable sanctuary and live his life with far more dignity and less stress. I urge public officials to stop ignoring the obvious and deal realistically with the problems caused by allowing individuals to keep wild animals in captivity: ban private ownership, sale, purchase, possession and custody of wild animals.

To find out what you can do to help Tony and others like him, visit:  http://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/.

71 thoughts on “What Is Best for Tony the Tiger?

  1. can anyone imagine how lonely this poor tiger’s life has been??? It just makes me cry…

  2. Janet Fincannon says:

    I do not know why this continues to drag on. I still think the owner is only concerned about his pocket. $. He says it had nothing to do with money but then he says Tony attracts customers. Of course most people in LA are wanting to keep Tony. It is cruel. FREE TONY NOW!

  3. sean zedik says:

    Lets take the idiot owner of the truck stop out of his natural environment and stick him in the cage for 10 years. People can poke him with sticks,and he can inhale the fumes.

  4. Dee DeSantis says:

    Tony is ILLEGALLY owned per a 1993 Iberville Parish Ordinance and therefore should have never been grandfathered in under Louisiana Act 715 which prohibits the ownership and sale of large exotic cats, including tigers, in Louisiana, nor should Mr. Sandlin have been given a permit from The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to keep Tony.
    Paramount is the health and welfare of Tony.
    Tony has been exploited as a roadside attraction for over a decade in the unhealthy and inappropriate environment of a truck stop that is detrimental to his health and welfare and is, for that matter , to any animal kept in these conditions. An accredited big cat sanctuary can provide Tony with a natural spacious habitat, a suitable pool, proper diet, medical care and enrichment along with the respect and peace he deserves. With the lifespan of captive tigers 15-20 years, it is imperative for 11 year old Tony to be relocated to such a sanctuary as soon as possible.

  5. Marylynn says:

    This makes me SICK!!!…:(

  6. FREEDOM~For Tony the Tiger says:

    I would like to say a Huge Thank you to the ALDF for standing by Tony until the end of this very long Journey. After 11 years of Tony living at a Truck stop next to a Highway ~ it is time for Tony now to Experience a life of Peace and Quiet and near those of his own Kind. Even tho it has been 8 years since Tony had Tigers near him…the fact that he had this, and then had it taken away from him was not good for Tony. It is my belief that Tony needs other Tigers near him again…Along the way of his 11 years of Captivity, Tony has somehow, someway been misunderstood and forgotten by those around him, that he is a Tiger, not a Domestic Pet. He needs to be a Tiger again. He needs to be near others of his own kind, so he can learn once again that he is in fact a Tiger………….I believe that living alone at this Truck Stop has taken this away from Tony.
    It is not about people coming to the Truck Stop and those people missing Tony….It is about Tony and Tony only and the best interest of this 11 year Old Endangered Tiger. It is about Tony after 11 years…living as a Tiger.

  7. Eliza Howard says:

    As always thank you for standing by Tony. All we want is a better life for Tony. I stand with you in all your advocating for all animals.

  8. Tony has waited long enough for his Freedom, the laws in Louisiana have never been followed concerning Tony’s case. The LDWF & Iberville Parish have known all along since this battle began WHAT they did, by grandfathering Sandlin in….can’t hide the truth now, we are all watching, the law is the law. Good old boy southern politics… We stand by Tony …until this is over and that cage is empty.

    “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 ~Animal Machines.

  9. as always thank all of u n the hard work u do .great job aldf n thank god tony has your support please dont ever give up the most often heartbreaking work your concern n kindness makes me have faith in people there r no words to say thank u all only begins to say how amazing you all are

  10. Nicholas J. Modd says:

    There are SEVERAL accredited big cat sanctuaries that Tony could and should be at; places with a fully staffed veterinary squad able to meet his every day needs.

    No matter how well the owner of the truck stop proclaims to care for Tony, the task could be done better with a staff dedicated to his every need, every day, where it is their job to take care of big cats.

    Mr. Sandlin, you have selfishly used Tony to attract customers to your truck stop for your personal financial gain for over ten years! The time has come to place Tony in a more natural environment. Tony may or may not socialize with the other big cats, that remains to be seen, however, he should have the option to do so, as all of his kind do in the wild.

  11. LCacavio says:

    Personally, I would love to see him be able to go to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado. I think, this is, bar none, the best place he could live out the rest of his life. He has “earned” this kind of life. http://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org/

  12. Annalisa Alvrus says:

    I don’t even want to look at the video of this tiger in the cage that has been imposed on him for the last decade. The selfish, self-centered human non-owner of the tiger needs to stop the battle and let this big cat be sent to a sanctuary where he can spend the rest of his life following his instincts and not being a sideshow.

  13. Nancy Wokich Abdallah says:

    It seems Michael Sandlin needs to be put in a diesel-laden steel cage for 10 years to gain some semblance of empathy. I will be the first to vote for that. Let’s switch Tony out, Michael in!

  14. julie johnson says:

    Tony the tiger should be allowed to be relocated to a big cat rescue facility where he can at the very least see others like him and hear them. He should be entitled to a much bigger environment to roam and experience greenery and a good sized water source as these cats like to get into water. He has endured 10 long years in cat solitary confinement he is entitled to a much better existence in his latter years.

  15. kirsty knowles says:

    A huge thanku 2 every1 involved in making it a reality that Toni will soon b free from the terrible conditions he has been forced 2 live in!! u people r truly amazing an deserve nice things 2 happen 2 u all!! i truly hope Toni is found somewhere where he live out his days in happiness!!

  16. Adam Hommey says:

    I envision a day when Tony stops over Cameron and Zabu’s place for lunch down there at Big Cat Rescue. He’d fit right in.

    Please, please, please tell me Mr. Sandlin is finally going to let this go.

    Back when the first ruling set Tony free, I actually went public saying “Now that the court has ruled, it’s time to engage Michael Sandlin as a partner in progress and look for a dignified result for all parties involved.” He even had at least an outside chance of coming out NOT looking like a self-centered animal abuser.

    Instead he made an ass of himself by using technicalities to drag out Tony’s imprisonment-without-trial for several more months.

    Please. Enough. Send Tony to Florida.

    – ARH

  17. Ann E Stickel says:

    The man who owns Tony hasn’t really made a connection with him. I am sure Tony has no attachment to him or the people who come to stare at him. Or the noise and air pollution he lives in. Or the horrid prison he lives in. True, Tony has known nothing else. But what he has is not life, it is an exsistance. Yes, the pacing, it just breaks my heart. He needs to go to a well chosen sanctuary where people will understand his great needs at this time and people who will understand how to help him be a tiger again. Be strong Tony we won’t give up until you have freedom.

  18. Val says:

    Tony has done nothing to merit prison, which is where he has been for the last 10+ years. Please let him go to Big Cat Sanctuary and live as close to nature as is possible, with as much freedom as is possible given his circumstances.

  19. Kat S says:

    I would love to see Tony living happily at Big Cat Rescue in Florida.

  20. Helen Mackie says:

    Please send Tony to Big Cat Rescue in Florida! Surely this is the best thing that can be done for him now.

  21. elizabeth hale says:

    Tony needs the fresh air at a sanctuary to clear the diesel fumes from his lungs!

  22. Lisa says:

    Congratulations on your legal victory. Let’s hope Tony goes to a sanctuary or at the very least a decent zoo. He’s suffered enough.

  23. Sharon Collette says:

    I think Tony should go to a wildcat sanctuary as soon as possible he needs to live out the rest of his life free of truck noises and with grass beneath his feet and being fed the right foods with caretakers who know how to care for wild tigers god bless Tony i wish him peace and happiness.

  24. Elizabeth Hill says:

    The wild animals let loose were not slaughtered.

  25. Tamara Lynn Baker says:

    Sadly the link provided leads all the campaign supports in the wrong direction. If you really want to help TONY please do a little research and seek the facts from people that have been there and seen him, for people that have fought for him to be free for years…. Because of the link on the bottom of this article it completely discredits everything above it and that is a shame.

  26. missy says:

    Maybe the truckstop owner should put one of his kids in the cage.
    Given how he acts,I assume he raises his kids to be barbarians as well.
    As for Tony,send him to Tippy Hedrens sanctuary .I bet he would fit right in .

  27. Dee says:

    He needs to feel grass & climb a tree. See in Big Cat Rescue in Tampa can take Tony in. He deserves it!

  28. Phyllis Elliott says:

    Why is he still in the cage? You said the permit had been revoked. Please give us an update on the status of his relocation to a REAL environment.

  29. Susan D. Martin says:

    OF COURSE Sandlin thinks Tony should stay in his concrete cage at the truck stop–his only concern is the money he makes from people stopping there to gawk at the tiger! If Sandlin truly “loved” this cat, he’d have relinquished him to an accredited sanctuary a long time ago–or better yet, if he “loves” tigers so much, he would never have had any of them in the first place. Sandlin has gotten away with this travesty for far too long; even though ALDF has won this particular lawsuit, that tiger still isn’t free–and I fear that he never will be. Sandlin’s going to find another way to pull a fast one, and the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries have been paid to look the other way for all this time. Why should they let a little ol’ court order stand in their way? I will consider this a “victory” for Tony when that cage is empty and I see pictures and vidoes of Tony in a real sanctuary, where he belongs!

  30. organicwench says:

    Tony deserves a better home because for the last decade he has been kept in grossly inadequate conditions, resulting in personal injury to him, for the sole purpose of serving as an attraction for some miserable truck stop. It is inconceivable how Tony’s true needs and welfare have been completely ignored. I am continually amazed at the level of abuse some animals are forced to endure. Tony’s imprisonment is indicative of a society devoid of any compassion and conscience. The refusal of the State of Louisiana to release Tony to a sanctuary casts a dark shadow on the integrity of this state for not taking the necessary steps to allow Tony to live out his life in peace and harmony. I implore Louisiana to seize this opportunity to do the right thing and release Tony to a reputable sanctuary. “Animals suffer as much as we do…until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.” (Albert Schweitzer)

  31. Nancy L. Nyman says:

    As a trucker, I’ve seen Tony and the other tigers that used to be at the truckstop. There used to be a couple white tigers, and some cubs. The cubs would be taken out on a leash, until they got too big and aggressive. People could pay to have their pictures taken with the cubs. When I asked the owner where the other tigers went, he said that he sold them to people. Really stupid, as far as I’m concerned. Yes, he appears to be in it for the money. Also, by the way, the fumes at a truckstop are not gasoline fumes, they are diesel fumes, which are much cleaner.

  32. Alice J.Felix says:

    I feel that Tony needs to be put in a good Sanctuary where he can feel more like a Wild Tiger,and be among others for company.He would be well taken care of,and would not feel like a prisoner.Its not right to take wild animals out of their domain(the wild)and then exploit them for our own selfish reasons.Its cruel and inhumane, and senseless.Leave the wild,in the wild where they truly belong.If Tonys owner really cared about him,he would want the best for him.Let him go to a good Sanctuary.

  33. We would like nothing more than for Tony to go to an accredited sanctuary immediately. Unfortunately, the legal system does not always move as quickly as we would like it to, but rest assured we are doing everything we can to get Tony out as soon as possible.

  34. Elizabeth Schoales says:

    The “Human Zoos” exhibition has just opened in Paris. It looks at the ways in which native inhabitants of former colonies were exhibited as freaks and oddities. We could replace the abused humans in these exhibits with Tony, Lolita, and all the other animals who are still treated as amusements. I look forward to the day when people look back at animal zoos, aquariums et al with similar disgust.

  35. Melissa Dent says:

    I think it’s wonderful you got the beginning of Tony’s freedom….the best would be to see him go to The Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota …..they are well funded & dedicated to “keeping the wild” …..there are a couple of other sanctuaries too…..ANY place would be an improvement over his present home & I DO NOT think that the owner should be listened to for a second!! Get Tony out as soon as possible….thanks for all you have done!!

  36. I would like Tony to go to PAWS in San Andreas, California. They have all kinds of exotic animals from zoos and circuses.
    He cannot stay at that truck stop, the horrible noises day in day out from the trucks, the smell of gasoline and his horrible confinenment.
    I hope the people in Fish & Game have a heart and see how urgent it is to get him out of this hell hole.

  37. Sandra Guillot says:

    How would Michael Sandlin like being caged and on a concrete floor to walk on most of his life like? No one should be allowed to have a wild animal. Tony should be able to roam, lay on grass, have fresh air to breath and live the rest of his life free. People can be cruel to animals in a cage.

  38. I’m so sorry for Tony the tiger I wish he will be rescued as soon as possible. Why would people do this anyway? Don’t they know that Extinction is Forever? I cannot imagine, nor would I wish to live in a world without tigers … without these magnificent creatures in our forests living free – without captive populations carrying on the gene pool. The power and beauty of these animals is indisputable. “I firmly believe zoos and private ownership by responsible caring individuals could well be the last foothold on survival for tigers. ” ~ me

  39. Caring for a tiger is an immense responsibility. Not just to the single tiger in your care, but to his or her species, and all tigers. Simply to own a tiger and keep him or her in your backyard as a pet is not enough, nor is it acceptable to keep this animal to yourself. You, the owner, owe it to all tigers – wild and held in captivity – and to the future generations of these animals to educate the public about tigers – and help to change people’s opinions about wildlife preservation.

  40. Please take action to save tigers, if we don’t act now we will never have another chance extinction is forever, and there’s no bringing tigers back once they are gone …

  41. Annie Winstead says:

    Let this poor caged animal go!

  42. Allison Anderson says:

    Who cares if people like to come and see Tony. What does that have to do with Tony’s well-being? This excuse just shows the selfishness on the owner’s part and all people who think it’s okay to keep a wild animal as a pet. Someone, please, find a sanctuary for this precious animal and let him live the rest of his life in the wild.

  43. MJ Horvath says:

    So when the heck is Tony finally going to be moved to the sanctuary that has been discussed? Hopefully very soon! Hasn’t he suffered enough? MJ

  44. Kathy Finelli says:

    It was my understanding that Tony was going to be sent to Big Cat Rescue in Tampa Fl and if that is indeed the case then you are sending him to a facility that keeps many of their animals in tiny cages and also charges people for tours and oh yes if you are really lucky you may be there on a day they feed the live pet rabbits to the animals they claim they are going to release into the wild. If indeed you want to send Tony to a Sanctuary then Big Cat Resccue is not the place for Tony they are no more then a roadside zoo themselves

  45. B. HOYT says:


  46. Karen Anderson says:

    I’ve watched the video where they talk about how well fed Tony is and how well taken care of he is – This is disgusting. The cage is so small, he has no pool, he is on concrete, he has no place to climb, he has nothing to stimulate him. If that doesn’t scream cruelty I just don’t know what does. I am so glad I am a supporter of the ALDF and that they are getting justice for these poor innocent animals. Tony, I love you.

  47. Richard says:

    Anything for profit America
    Forget your children may ever see a tiger in the wild we have money to earn, and will not let a stupid Tiger get in the way. Makes me sick what have we become?

  48. Tahoe Leigh says:

    Yeah It has been Tony’s IMPOSED home/jail for all those years but can the deluded owner state that poor Tony is HAPPY? In my opinion the Owner should be jailed, so He can experience a similar situation for himself! Tony should go to a bonafide sanctuary A.S.A.P. where he can enjoy space and fresh air for the remainder of his life.

  49. Linda Gewiss says:

    I have been reading about Tony the abused tiger for several years now. Despite the recent legal ruling in favor of releasing him to an accredited sanctuary, he is still in the possession of the life sucking clutches of Mr. Sandlin. How long does it take to move an abused animal out of the abuser’s possession? By the time the legal system gets done he will be dead. Move him somewhere now and stop arguing about where to move him. Every day that he is not free is another day he is slowly dying. I thought abused animals were supposed to be granted protection. If this is everyone’s idea of protection from an abuser, we are all wasting our time trying to get protection for all abused wild animals. SHAME ON ALL OF US FOR OUR INACTION IN THIS CASE. MOVE TONY TODAY.

  50. Claudia says:

    this has been dragging too long TONY the Tiger needs to be out of his cage and that stinking truck stop,needs to be placed in an wild animals rescue like the one in Tampa Florida,learn to feel the good hearth under his paws ,small the fresh air around him, away from stupid tourist thatwant to gawk at him,let him free the sooner the better

  51. AmandaM says:

    The way I heard this is that ‘when the permit is up, then he must be released’. So Im still not sure when that is supposed to be. But, I dont trust Sandlin and Louisiana good ol’ boys not to have some nasty tricks up their sleeves. The absolute WORST thing we can do is to believe this is a done-deal now before he has actually been rehomed. Some people have commented about the nature of some big cat facilities. I and many others do not have the resources to fly around the country and check these sanctuaries out. Just like the Ohio sanctuary, any could be a sham and so must be thoroughly vetted! Im asking ALDF to gather resources from other caring animal orgs to do that, this is not a popularity contest. Who is going to ultimately decide where he goes? This has not been made clear in the original ALDF post or in any updates. We need to get him out of there as soon as is possible.

  52. Jo R says:

    Watching poor Tony in that cage in such a disgusting and unnatural environment makes me cry. PLEASE FREE TONY NOW

  53. Michael Sandlin dosen’t like Tony at all he just wants to make money out of him. Why Sandlin? Go make money out of something else but don’t do this to wildlife and I’m pretty sure you don’t hear me say this or see what I wrote here. But,you can see all the pain in Tony’s eyes if tigers could scream maybe…peope would listen.

  54. The time is now to save these magnificent cats, before they vanish from the earth forever. There is little time left to preserve these animals, immediate action is required. The latest predictions state that tigers will be extinct in the wild by the year 2015. That’s less then 5 years to save a creature that has been around far longer then ourselves.

    I cannot imagine, nor would I wish to live in a world without tigers … without these magnificent creatures in our forests living free – without captive populations carrying on the gene pool. The power and beauty of these animals is indisputable.

    Tigers are an integral part of the ecosystem, and a major link in the food chain. Tigers have been bestowed magical and supernatural properties by many societies, and have also been revered as gods. All living creatures of mother earth depend on one another for survival. We as human beings are brothers and sisters to every living being, from the plants to the animals to each other.

    Crimes like these – the killing of tigers – must be stopped – PERIOD. They are often killed in the most barbaric, the most unbelievably cruel ways. I ask you the reader – if learning of things like this moves you at all, then take that energy and do what you can to stop the killing of these magnificent animals. Write to your government, write to the governments of tiger countries and urge them to protect tigers.

    Penalties for killing tigers, and other protected wildlife need to be strongly enforced – and strong enough as to be a complete deterrent to the poaching of tigers, and also deter those who profit from such killing – such greed.

    Extremist groups would ban all exotic animals from captivity because of small numbers of individuals that mistreat their animals, and unfortunately the whole zoo “industry” and caring private owners get painted with the same brush. The vast majority of zoos, big and small, treat their animals well, feed them well and give them proper environmental enrichment. The numbers of bad homes are small, but they do exist.

    “The Animal Rights Organizations should make sure they target only the bad homes and leave those providing a good, happy and healthy home for animals alone” ~ me

    They don’t realize that banning all exotics from captivity could spell the end for many species of animals. Species whose numbers in the wild are extremely low, such as the Clouded Leopard, Siberian tiger, South China tiger and so forth.

    “I firmly believe zoos and private ownership by responsible caring individuals could well be the last foothold on survival for tigers. ” ~ me

    Zoos, sanctuaries and responsible, knowledgeable and caring private owners are rapidly becoming the last havens to preserve ever dwindling species of animals. These places may well, in the not so far future, hold the last remaining tigers – gems for the future who should be nurtured and protected.

    Caring for a tiger is an immense responsibility. Not just to the single tiger in your care, but to his or her species, and all tigers. Simply to own a tiger and keep him or her in your backyard as a pet is not enough, nor is it acceptable to keep this animal to yourself. You, the owner, owe it to all tigers – wild and held in captivity – and to the future generations of these animals to educate the public about tigers – and help to change people’s opinions about wildlife preservation.

    Education is key to developing sensitivity and awareness to our environment. Our children hold the hope for the future of the tiger. Heightened awareness of environmental issues will help assure our children grow up to respect and care for our global environment.

    Think Globally – Act Locally!

    As human populations continue to rise out of control and more space is taken for human habitation and occupation, wild animals of all types are pushed onto ever shrinking habitats. Logging, oil exploration and mining operations in natural areas are wiping out species of animals before we even know they exist. Species extinction is occurring at a rate more rapid then ever before in the history of this planet.

    This is clearly the fault of the human race. We should be ashamed of ourselves for this immature and very unwise use of our planet …we need to wise up quickly – there is little time left for many species, maybe even our own …

    Tigers may well become extinct in the wild due to poaching, habitat loss and other pressures, but we must act to preserve tigers as a species.The only way to do so is to have captive populations, proper breeding programs, stud book registrations and inbreeding prevention.

    While there are many of us who consider the human race to be above every other living being on earth, this thinking is folly and may lead to our eventual destruction.

    Humankind is not above all else in the world, but an intricate part of all in the world. Environmental stewardship and compassion for all beings should be our goal

    Mankind must learn to respect all life and realize that all life on this earth is dependent on all other life on this earth. We must learn to take care of our home if we expect our home to survive, to flourish and to support our species.

    “Nature is the Art of God.” ~ me

  55. rosemary says:

    Tony deserves a better life. Living in that cage is no life at all. Get him out. It’s time for him to be moved to a sanctuary so he can live out his days in peace.

  56. Susan says:

    Rednecks, southern old boys club, and people being paid to look the other way. Remember, the whole world is watching, not just the US. This beautiful wild animal is suffering while all of this crap is going on. Get Tony moved now!

  57. Rita Nunn says:

    WHY IS TONY STILL THERE??!!! If the victory was won in court, why is he still in that cage?? It is not over until Tony is safe in a true animal sanctuary, not some shoddy breeding facility that Michael Sandlin chooses. Thank you so much for going this far for Tony, ALDF, but please don’t stop now. Please get Tony out of there while he has a little time left…..and don’t let Michael Sandlin choose where he goes.

  58. Nancy says:

    If it was ordered that the permit be revoked, what’s the problem? Why is Tony STILL there? I don’t get it. What’s it going to take for this to be OVER and for Tony to be in a better environment?

  59. MMs says:

    This is SICKENING!!! Thank God their license was revoked! I live in Louisiana and I NEVER BUY gasoline from these idiots!!! This poor baby needs to be placed in a sanctuary where he can live out the rest of his days in happiness!

  60. lili closa says:

    Tony is desperate to get away from that cruel and freeless life. He deserves to get away now, away from that awful cage and pitiful view of the highway, let him go to his own habitat and live happily ever after!!!!
    So glad people like you are winning against this heartless americans… who would say!

  61. Sky Williamson says:

    Sorry guys Sandlin made it very clear that if the decision is left up to him that “hell will freeze over” before Tony goes to Big Cat Rescue in Tampa FL. Secondly I would like to bring to your attention that GW Exotic has posted across the internet that he is collection donations in the amount of $120 thousand dollars for TONY’S “COMPOUND”. Joe claims that Tony’s name will be changed and Tony will be put in the back of the park where no one can see him. If you do not already know GW Exotic in OK is a horrible place. They breed nonstop and sell to anyone that comes along. Plus Joe and his people killed 23 cubs in a years time blaming the formula which the FDA said there was nothing wrong with the formula. What does that tell you. Not to mention the fact that he wants to “hide” TONY. All in all everyone not only do we have to continue to fight for TONY but we also need to fight to BAN PRIVATE OWNERSHIP and HAVE STRICT REGULATIONS FOR THESE SO CALLED “SANCTUARIES”. A sanctuary does not breed. Not to mention Joe has 1400 animals already and if he is collecting donations then clearly he can’t afford any more animals like TONY. This is the same person who scraps metal to feed the animals. This place should be closed down!

  62. Sandra Sato says:

    My understanding from ALDF’s report previously was that Tony was going to be going to a sanctuary. And now he’s STILL in a bloody cage! The license was revoked and he’s still there! This does not make sense. I am sure that Big Cat Sanctuary in FL would love to take Tony out of his misery. It’s purely obvious that the only reason Tony is at the truck stop is for $$. The truck stop would probably fold without Tony. Maybe that’s not a bad idea if the guy can’t make it without Tony.

  63. carol says:

    what a soulless existence for this beautiful creature

  64. ALDF is well-aware of the allegations of horrendous conditions at G.W. Exotic Animal Park. Our attorneys are researching various legal strategies for ensuring that Tony goes to a reputable sanctuary, not a roadside zoo.

  65. Kate in FL says:


    This is a list I found of Accredited Sanctuaries in North America. Can’t ALDF stipulate it must be one on this list?

  66. Tom says:

    For those who seem to know everything, The case was not about cruelty, it was about the legality of the license issued by the State. If it were about cruelty, Mr. Sandlin would have been charged. Custody of Tony was not taken from Mr. Sandlin because it was never an issue.

    The tiny cage you speak of is 3600 sq ft and is mostly natural grass, although most of the pictures posted here only show his back patio which is cement. I’m not sure Mr. Sandlin’s house has that much floor space.

    For those that believe that BCR in Tampa would be better, their 55 acres is mostly water and marsh with the remaining area for their facility, parking and more than 100 other cats. They are located between the 6 lane Veterans Highway and the Citrus mall and are open to several tours.

    The Truck Stop is located on a side road, away from the highway snd the trucks can get no closer to Tony than 2 city blocks.

  67. Joe Exotic says:

    I think since you all wanted him moved you should be the ones to pay the bill to build him a better home than he had. This is the problem in our world. You can bitch and take things away from people but it is up to the facility or the public to pay the bill when your done complaining. I look forward to the day to make all of you eat crow for forcing him out and not putting your money where your mouth is.
    There are no laws preventing him to come here and we are not a dump. Be careful ALDF how you represent us online as you know we have filed a 15 million dollar suit against BCR and have no problem suing you as well for slander or anyone else. Do Tony a favor and understand the contract we have with MIKE and that is he will not be exploited like he will everywhere else. Funny how you all delete comments when their not in your favor on Facebook. Hard to hear the other side huh?
    Sky Williams Put the crack pipe down and go brush your false teeth. It is all bad for your health.

  68. cndlash says:

    You people make me sick. Tony is well cared for. Watch these videos. He has more than some of the reserves would give him. Shame on you for what your doing.

  69. cpro says:


    Big Cat Rescue is not a sanctuary accredited by the American Sanctuary Association, but these 2 are: The Wildcat Sanctuary of Minnesota and Wildcat Haven Sanctuary in Oregon. I’m hoping Tony can find a home at one of these, he deserves the best.

  70. Kate in FL says:

    When can we expect to hear updates and when will Tony be released???? There are so many people waiting for news!!!

  71. Christa Babst says:

    I don’t understand why Tony is still there? The license was revoked that means he is there illegally and should be send to a sanctuary, PAWS in Northern California would be the best place for him.

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