Upholding Lousiana’s Big Cat Ban

The Animal Legal Defense Fund intervened in Tiger Truck Stop’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the big cat ban so that we could both defend the big cat ban and challenge the special law exempting Tiger Truck Stop from the ban.

Updated

March 28, 2017

Work Type

Litigation

Status

Active

Next Step

As part of our years long battle to free Tony the Tiger, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the State of Louisiana for passing a law that exempted Michael Sandlin and Tiger Truck Stop, Inc. (the person who put Tony on display) from the state’s ban on private ownership of big cats. The state’s constitution prohibits “special laws” that grant exclusive benefits to any private individual or interest. The sole purpose of “Act 697,” signed by Governor Jindal, was to allow Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin to keep Tony caged in a gas station parking lot.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of former Representative Warren Triche Jr., the Louisiana legislator who sponsored the 2006 big exotic cats ban, as well as other Louisiana residents and taxpayers, in the East Baton Rouge District Court. The defendants include the State of Louisiana, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the Tiger Truck Stop, and Michael Sandlin.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund later successfully moved to intervene in a lawsuit Michael Sandlin and Tiger Truck Stop filed against the State of Louisiana, LDWF, and other governmental entities arguing that the big cat ban itself is unconstitutional. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, intervened to defend the constitutionality of the big cat ban. Our intervention in this lawsuit also allowed the Animal Legal Defense Fund to raise arguments challenging the constitutionality of Act 697’s exemption for Tony.  Despite Tony’s tragic death in October 2017, the case is ongoing.

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