Legal battle over 'Tony the Tiger' will continue at State Supreme Court level

Photo provided by staff
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 5:49pm

The fate of a famous Truck Stop Tiger is still up in the air, but Tony's owner is still fighting to keep him home in Grosse Tete.

Michael Sandlin asked the 1st Circuit Court of appeals to reconsider the April ruling that said Tony could not live at the truck stop and his permit was illegally granted. The circuit court refused, so now he's heading to the State Supreme Court for some answers.

It has been a long, expensive battle for Michael Sandlin to keep Tony, his 550 pound Siberian Bengal tiger.

"I’m not happy about the situation. It's been going on for 4 years," said Michael Sandlin.

That battle continues and the road ahead could get bumpy.

"It's more complex than viewers know about," said Michael Sandlin’s Attorney, Jennifer Treadway Morris.

The animal rights group fighting to free Tony from the truck stop is just waiting to see what happens at the state level.

"It seem evident he's trying to prolong the inevitable. The courts have made it pretty clear that he does not qualify, he lost at district court of appeals," said Matthew Liebman of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

At the state level, Michael hopes his case is recognized by the governor himself.

“We don’t understand why the governor hasn't picked up the phone and called Wildlife and Fisheries and said do your job,” noted Sandlin.

With the possibility of Tony being taken away, like any animal owner, Michael tries to be hopeful. But he still can't help but worry.

“It’s scary,” said Sandlin.

This four year battle to keep Tony at the Truck Stop is one step closer to and end.

“I will keep fighting and I will keep Tony home," stated Sandlin.

Sandlin has filed a completely different lawsuit against the state, stating that the current exotic animal ban is unconstitutional and discriminatory but that suit might not even be considered until the current legal battle is over.


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