Posted: Feb 19, 2013 5:47 PM by Jacob Krasnow
Updated: Feb 19, 2013 7:11 PM
BATON ROUGE - As Tony lounged in his cage at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, lawyers in Baton Rouge argued over the Bengal-Siberian mix's fate at an appeals hearing Tuesday.
Representatives for Michael Sandlin, the truck stop's owner, say the picture painted of Tony behind bars isn't so tragic.
"I assure you that Tony is well-fed, he's well-loved, he's well-taken care of, he has excellent veternary care and he needs to stay at the only home he's ever known," Sandlin said.
A 2011 court ruling barred Sandlin from owning the tiger, but he was allowed to keep Tony through the appeals process.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund argued Tony poses a safety threat.
"I always like to say, unlike LSU, we've never had a tiger escape at the Tiger Truck Stop," Sandlin said.
The ALDF conducted interviews to prepare for the case, and learned that it could take up to 45 minutes for a vet to arrive to subdue the animal, if Tony were to escape.
Sandlin said he is going to fight to keep Tony as long as he can.
"We have over 13,000 signatures from people who have actually been to the restaurant and truck stop, have seen Tony for themselves, and want Tony to stay at home where he is," Sandlin said.