A Louisiana man still fights for his tiger, has fought for years, against an animal rights agenda. Michael Sandlin has fought to keep Tony the Tiger at home since the first claim of Tony not being properly cared for in his home some time ago. A long and harrowing journey that many would not be able to struggle through, Sandlin has never wavered and continues to fight to keep Tony at home.
The information on the Save Tony website explains much of the journey but fails to tell the story of where the activist want Tony to live - in "sanctuary." While Tony lives in a spacious home now, with proper care, veterinary care, good food and attention from those he's known his whole life - activists would want him sent to a cage; there are no free roaming tigers. The cages at sanctuaries are often even smaller than Tony's current home and the people are strangers to him.
Sandlin provides for Tony out of his own pocket, for food, care and keeping. Sanctuaries exist on donations. The irony of the situation is highlighted where supporters of having Tony removed from his home claim "Tony shouldn't be in a cage, he needs to be in a sanctuary" or "he looks so sad" and "he needs others of his own kind to play with." Tigers are mostly solitary animals, not like a group of lions living in a pride, and only together for breeding or a mother with her young. The slide show of pictures show his claimed "concrete prison" to not be so, with a large grassy area, watering pool and area to lounge around. A misting system keeps him cool on hot summer days with air conditioning in his "house" to keep him even cooler.
The group of people trying to get Tony taken away from Michael Sandlin have made claims about his care that simply are not true. It's down to fighting over a permit through the legal system, which costs Sandlin money out of his own pocket and his opponents likely using donations which could be spent on animals truly in need.
In another suit against the State of Louisiana that challenges the constitutionality of the current law banning private ownership of dangerous exotics, Sandlin argues "If the basis for the Law is that these animals are dangerous to the public, then certainly Mike the tiger at LSU is dangerous at LSU stadium among 90,000 screaming football fans. Even though I have the exact same Federal USDA license that LSU and the Baton Rouge Zoo has, I was not exempted. This is a classic example of discrimination." A judge will determine the fate of Tony.
Sandlin continues, "As far as Tony, He needs to stay in the only home he has ever known. If these so-called animal rights organizations actually cared for Tony, they would have offered to help with improving Tony's habitat and enrichment. They have not spent one red cent to help do anything to help. To the contrary, they have costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to have him removed. I know of many seized animals that were dead within two months of being relocated and torn away from the owners that love them. I will fight to my last breath to keep Tony from the same fate."
Tony, at almost 13 years old, is happy, healthy and well cared for in his home. Sandlin has appealed being denied a permit. Let's hope Tony can stay where he's well cared for, comfortable and loved - and even on Sandlin's own money.