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Activists Knock the Tiger Out of Tiger Truck Stop

Written by PETA | November 25, 2008
daylife / CC

Gas, trucks, and tigers?! Oh, no they don’t!

The Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, has been on PETA’s most hideous radar for years. This roadside hellhole, which at one time housed four tigers, now has one, a Bengal tiger named Tony.

Complaints about the welfare of these tigers have flooded PETA’s inboxes, mailboxes, and phone lines. We have filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and written to the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop offering to help pay the costs to get the animals transferred to real sanctuaries.

Now, state wildlife officials have joined the growing throng of animal rights organizations (such as the Coalition of Louisiana Animal Advocates, which has battled the truck stop for years) and compassionate people who are fed up with the owner’s repeated violations of animal care standards. Violations include having an insufficient number of trained employees, keeping the tigers in unsound facilities, having no veterinary care program for the tigers, and providing improper nutrition for the animals. In a letter to the truck stop owner, officials warn that Tony must be “legally removed from the premises to a Department-approved facility or out-of-state within 30 days ….” Thanks, guys. Nice!

Roadside exhibits and novelty displays are worlds away from suitable habitats for exotic animals. Not only are these frustrated animals dangerous, but they quickly become stir-crazy and display stereotypical behaviors within their cramped pens. Hopefully, now, with the state stepping in, the Tiger Truck Stop has exploited its last animal and Tony is off to a great life.

Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky

Commenting is closed.
  • Traci says:

    I just saw Tony on Sunday, July 24, 2011, and he is miserable. He vomited bright yellow stuff while we were there and was dazed and walking like he was in a drunken stupor. It makes me sick, and the truck stop is a total crap hole on the inside as well, so if the bathrooms for human customers get no attention, you can imagine what kind of attention this poor tiger gets. I am originally from Louisiana, so I know how slow things move there. This poor creature is going to die in that cage because of MORONS who have no souls.

  • PETA says:

    Hi Jamie, I’m glad we had a chance to discuss the years of campaigning we’ve done on behalf of Tony, and all the tigers who have suffered at the Tiger Truck Stop. We appealed to Louisiana officials (we don’t blog on every action we take on every case, it would be impossible!), but we can’t force them to do the right thing. We are as disappointed as you are that they gave the okay for Tony to continue to live in that awful cage. Best, Jennifer O’Connor

  • Jamie says:

    Tony is still at the truck stop as of December 16, 2010 The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries granted a renewal of Michael Sandlin’s permit to keep Tony. It seems as if PETA lost interest in this case. Poor Tony.

  • sharon Collette says:

    why have there been no update lately about tony ! have you lost interest ?

  • Terri Halle says:

    Looks like Michael Sandlin wins again getting to keep Tony at that wretched stinky damned truckstop! He’s still pacing back and forth on the concrete with limited access to his ‘grassy area’ and drinks from his green water bowl but this bare minimum is enough! Anyone with a heart should be outraged! Keeping any animal confined in a concrete cell without regular checkups or routine enrichments should NEVER be okay and certainly not for a wild animal! Why hasn’t Peta done more about this? Tony has fur too it’s just that his still has blood running through the skin and breathes!

  • Jan Geren says:

    Please this is ridiculous Tony the Tiger is still with Michael Sandlin at this disgusting Truck Stop. Peta what happened! We need to getn him out! He is losing weight fast.

  • candice Alexander says:

    are we still living in a RIVER OF DE NILE…or whats the deal with the tiger…still in there ..i saw him the other day!

  • Deborah Daniels says:

    Thanks for doing the update. I saw Tony several times last summer and was moved to tears. I contacted W F media and anyone else I could think of… the heat was unbearable the automatic water bowl was sized for a dog the misters were not functional I went in and inquired the yard was unkempt and overgrown one toy littered that yard and the exhaust from the pavement and trucks was overwhelming. I was stunned to find that there had been attempts in the past to stop this but all were thwarted. The ultimate irony is that Sandlin has a web page up with a petition to save Tony…. By his own admission the tiger is responsible for making his business and providing employment for dozens of people and that is the way he repays him. I saw other visitors leave visibly shaken many took photographs and videos. It would be nice to get some of these to show the public. I had the privilege of working with big cats briefly at the zoo. They are magnificent animals that need an extreme amount of care and attention that the truck stop is incapable of providing.

  • Merrill says:

    I am sad to report that the council voted tonight to amend the parish ordinance and grandfather Tony in. However after the vote was taken the Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso stood up and gave his comments. He stated that he is adamantly against the tiger remaining at the truck stop that no animal should be treated poorly and live in inhumane conditions. He further said that he will meet with Michael Sandlin owner and present habitat improvements that must be made within 3045 days. He will meet with Sandlin in the next 10 days at which time if his conditions are not agreed to he will veto the council’s vote. As we all know the council can then come back and with a 23 vote overturn the veto. Mr. Ourso has met with veterinarians biologists LSU etc. about the treatment and conditions of exotic cats and reiterated that the truck stop does not come close. If Sandlin is finally issued a license by Iberville Parish he must then obtain the required permit from Wildlife and Fisheries. That begins another process. It is not over yet. The council is agreeing to grandfather an animal that was not even born when the ordinance was passed. You may ask how can that be possible? There are many technicalities that could further impact this case and will be pursued. More updates to come later. We owe a huge thanks to J.Mitchell Ourso Parish President which we expressed to him tonight. If anyone would care to thank him for his efforts on behalf of Tony please do so. email Please also send a letter of appreciation to District 5 Mr. Edwin M. Reeves Jr. 58680 St. Clement Street Plaquemine LA 70764 He was the ONLY one that voted to NOT amend the ordinance for Michael Sandlin….

  • Dori Ann says:

    This is still ongoing. The issue has not been resolved. Please everyone visit bigcatrescue.comfreetony.htm and send a letter to the legislators. There has been an injunction granted in this case due to the suit filed by the owner of the truckstop. As a citizen of this state I can tell you nothing gets done in Louisiana until it is absolutely forced. We need your voices too. Please repost the link on your blog facebook myspace or any other networking site you use. Thank you!

  • Bill Clemmons says:

    I know Tony the tiger of Grosse Tete. I know Mike the owner and have been in his home. Your posts here are full of half truths which are likewise half falshoods. If one objects to cages at all then the positions here have merit. This cage is humane the tiger is well fed and has ample veterinary care I have seen this with my own eyes as far as Tony is concerned and for all the previous tigers there over the past 21 years. Prove your objectivity and post this.

  • Tucker says:


  • Tracey Williams says:

    Greed and money has put the current world into recensionwhen do we say enough and start thinking past today.

  • ilovethewildlife says:

    I cant beleive this cruel treatment these animals of God receive. He put them in the wild for a reason and not for everyone to make money on. What is wrong with you people and how would you like to be treated like that dont you no by now that this is how we are supposed to look at things. HOW WOULD I FILL? Quit messing with God Creatures and someday YOU WILL HAVE TO ANSWER TO HIM.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Shame Shame Shame! To use animals who cannot speak out for themselves is such a cowardly deed.

  • Mitch says:

    Its not that Asia is any more barbaric its just that thats how they have lived for almost forever.

  • brooklyn says:

    i saw a circus when i was 4 i had know clue why they were sad but now i know.

  • Matthew says:

    Kimmie do you know how most of Asia treats its animals? This roadside truckstop is nothing compared to the dog and cat killings in China and Korea etc…thats just the tip of the iceberg Asia is barbaric!!

  • Rod says:

    If you cause are gonig to fight for a cause at least be consistant with your pursuit. You guys are picking on the small people. They aare easy targets but they arent the real influence in the country. What about the bigger corps and rich who are doing the same. They are protected by goverment so i guess they arent worth fighting. HorseRacing and dogracing owners are off scotfree for harming animals. I see cruelty to animals everyday on TV. The offsite betting channel. You guys should push harder to on these bigshots who get away with animal cruelty.

  • Simran says:

    WHAT?????? since when? thats evil!

  • sheila says:

    just sick of the greed that pushes people to use animals for financial gain. they are so neglected so abused! would love to see this jerk in a cage hah with Tony?!

  • David says:

    A hearty note of thanks is due to the Louisiana state wildlife officials who are taking action against this dangerous and perverse roadside hellhole in order to protect the animals. I cannot help but wonder what the U.S. Department of Agriculture was doing all of this time that prevented them from responding to PETA’s requests to investigate this dump….

  • kelly says:

    Kimmie collect all the details and send it to Peta!!

  • Tom says:

    John I’m sure while that example may not meet your standards of abuse you could at least consider this A place that keeps baby tigers in dog crates sitting in the sun and tigers that are neurotic from captivity… they probably treat their horses well cause it just wouldn’t be right to abuse the horses.. ya know? Knitpicking is silly.

  • John says:

    Uh Kimmie? I’m all for not abusing Tigers and other animals but what about Horses standing on hot concrete constitutes abuse? They burn the horseshoe onto the horse and it doesn’t feel it so why would the concrete bother them?

  • bbr says:

    free Tony the Tiger. He is grrrreat! Well maybe Tony will mistake this dude for lunch one day. I’m not saying that I “hope” he does I’m just “maybe” he might. I love Tigers. They are so beautiful. And aren’t they an endangered species? If so how is it that people are allowed to keep them like this?

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    I can barely contain my disappointment in this place. FIRST OF ALL The man running the place does not seem “evil” to me just very misguided. He probably genuinely beleives that he’s doing right by his animals. First of all he is missing the point completely. Creating wild animals to live in captivity for our entertainment is wrong. He is breeding them left and right. He does not want to release them into the wild that is good because they would never survive and would disrupt the ecosystem there. However he keeps breeding more and more tigers for what. For our entertainment. For his entertainment. Wild animals belong in the wild. They do not belong in captivity and his overflow are burdening some wild tiger sanctuary somewhere. Tigers belong in the wild. Wild animals belong in the wild. Should I keep saying it until someone listens? Wild animals belong in the wild. It is unfortunate that he is collecting donations this roadside zoo is not a nonprofit a nonprofit is something like a wild animal sancutary for discarded zoo animals or a shelter for homeless pets. Thank you PETA so much for taking steps towards stopping this hopefully we can educate people too or else it will never end. Bless you guys and have a great vegan holiday solstice.

  • kimmie says:

    The other summer I was on buford highway in Atlanta Georgia. I forget the name of the sideshow attraction because it was in Spanish but I was appalled to find two baby tigers in a dog crate in a parking lot at a burlington coat factory store. On this very humid southern day there were also two tigers in a small trailer pacing back and forth neurotically. Unattended by a trainer or anyone really there were ignorant adults and kids walking up to the caged tiger laughing. How dangerous for the both. Also were horses on the hot concrete and llamas. As I cried and tried to call 411 to find a number to call to no avail but a “I’ll have someone go check it out” I had workers whistle and call at me while building a tent for this 1920’s barbaric animal attraction. I find it disgusting many people have to go and get a biology degree to travel to asia to study these animals while ignorant and backwoods people get to own these wild animals like pets to exploit them for money. These endangered animals seriously need more laws and protection from humans exploitation. I fear animals like tigers and elephants will only be known about by my future grandchildren as stuffed animals not as actual living creatures.

  • Mae says:

    Woot! That rocks. Free the tigers! You guys rock. Keep up the awesome work!