Tiger Truck Stop, famous for viral camel-biting incident, will stop showcasing exotic animals
GROSSE TETE - An area truck stop infamous for a bizarre encounter involving a woman and a camel last year will no longer put exotic animals on display.
The new co-owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete confirmed the change to WBRZ Wednesday. The announcement comes as ownership of the truck stop changes hands in the wake of its former owner retiring last month.
The business has been a tourist spot for decades due to it keeping exotic animals caged on its property, most famously a Bengal tiger named Tony.
The business most recently became home to Casper the camel after Tony passed away in 2017.
That camel then drew national attention last year after it had a run-in with a woman who entered the enclosure to retrieve her dog. Video showed the camel sat on top of the woman, who in turn bit the animal's testicles in order to get the animal off of her.
Johnny and Dana Ewing, along with their business partner, James Jarreau, bought the truck stop in June from the previous owner, Michael Sandlin. Over the years, animal activists have repeatedly called for Sandlin to end the animal displays.
“Listen the amount of advertising he got from the tiger and the camel was endless. it was amazing, what he did. It was amazing the advertising he got. It’s just not the route we take,” Jarreau said.
The new owners decided right away to do away with the exotic animals after officially taking over. The camel was sent off to a zoo in Alexandria and the cages were taken down.
“No tiger cage. I don’t know anything about the animals. I got three kids of my own so I got enough animals at home. I don’t need any more animals,” Jarreau said.
On a serious note, Jarreau says they’re ready to transform the old truck stop, starting first with how they do business and how they attract their customers.
“It’s not how we go to business, it’s not with animals, obviously. It’s with hard work and service. So hopefully we’ll win you over with our service, not animals. In life, everything has to change one day or another and it’s time for it to change a little bit,” Jarreau said.
In a few months, the new owners hope to break ground on the new tiger truck stop in the same location. They’ll eventually tear down the original building and repave the parking lot where the animals were once caged.
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