Tony the Tiger
Tony the Tiger is captive in a truckstop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, where he lives among diesel fumes with a fraction of the space he would have in the wild. The following is a timeline of the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s work to free Tony.
For a more comprehensive overview of our efforts to free Tony, check out our feature article.
Timeline of Events
- April 1, 2017: The Animal Legal Defense Fund submits a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture requesting an inspection of Tony, based on recent information raising concerns regarding the tiger’s health. The letter urges the USDA to investigate potential Animal Welfare Act violations and determine whether Tony’s medical condition requires immediate independent veterinary care and treatment.
- March 28, 2017: The Animal Legal Defense Fund files an amended petition to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit against the state of Louisiana to defend Louisiana’s big cat ban and ensure Michael Sandlin cannot get more tigers.
- May 8, 2015: 4th graders at Guilmette Elementary School in Massachusetts were so moved by Tony’s plight that they created posters, circulated petitions, and wrote letters to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal urging him to move Tony to a sanctuary.
- November 17, 2014 – Oral arguments heard in ALDF’s lawsuit challenging the state’s new special exemption that allows Michael Sandlin to possess Tony.
- June 24, 2014 – ALDF files lawsuit on behalf of Louisiana taxpayers, challenging the state’s new special exemption.
- June 18, 2014 – Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signs SB 250 into law, exempting Michael Sandlin from existing Louisiana law that prohibits the private possession of exotic cats.
- October 4, 2013 – Louisiana Supreme Court declines review of the Court of Appeal’s decision, allowing ALDF’s victory to stand.
- April 25, 2013 – Louisiana Court of Appeal upholds a lower court decision in ALDF’s favor, which ruled that the LDWF unlawfully issued Michael Sandlin a permit to exhibit Tony the tiger.
- January 3, 2012 –Sandlin files a lawsuit against the State of Louisiana, the LDWF, and Iberville Parish, trying to overturn the state ban on private possession of dangerous and exotic cats.
- November 2, 2011 – Judge Caldwell rules in ALDF’s favor that the LDWF unlawfully issued Sandlin a permit. The department is ordered by the court to revoke that permit.
- April 11, 2011 – ALDF sues the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for unlawfully issuing Michael Sandlin a permit to exhibit Tony the tiger.