The Iberville Parish Council in Louisiana has voted 11-1 to allow Tiger Truck Shop owner Michael Sandlin to keep Tony, a Siberian Tiger, as a roadside attraction in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. The cruel confinement of the tiger does not appear to bother the good people of Iberville.
Sandlin is now expected to secure a permit from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that will enable him to legally keep the 550-pound tiger. He has raised the tiger from the time of being a cub.
Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. said that he will make sure that Sandlin complies with basic requirements for the safety and welfare of the tiger. Now there is a civic promise. How about prohibiting the caging of exotic animals in small cages by amateurs as a roadside attraction?
When the issue went before the city council, it turned into an ugly scene as members of both sides went after each other in the halls. There is now an international movement calling for Tony’s removal from the site, including websites.
Only Councilman Edwin “Ed” Reeves Jr. appears to have a modicum of sense and compassion on the council — casting the single dissenting vote. The council voted in favor of Sandlin despite an ordinance that prohibits an individual from keeping any “wild, exotic, vicious animal or reptile for display or for exhibition purposes.”
Sky Williamson, who has taken up the fight to save Tony, said that see first saw the tiger in 2005 in a concrete cage off of the parking lot: “Tony’s in a cage, continuously inhaling diesel fumes, sloshing around in his own waste… It’s sickening.” Activists have found a home for Tony at the Big Cat Rescue of Tampa, Fla., but Sandlin calls it nothing less than theft of his tiger. Ironically, he complains that the activists have not raised a dime to improve his current living conditions.
What is particularly
Notably, some members like Councilman Mitchel J. Oubre and Councilman Matt Jewell stressed that displaying Tony brings tourists to the town and that they would not want to lose the tourism business.
Sandlin has been written up 16 times by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating regulations over the poor housing from Tony. Sandlin was forced to turn over two other tigers in 2003.
Both Sandlin and the city face serious liability should anything go wrong. For Sandlin, he would be held strictly liable for any accident with the Tiger under common law torts. I wonder if his insurance company is aware that he houses a wild animal on the property?
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