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Concern for Tony a Caged Tiger

Story ID:4746
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Iberville Louisiana USA
Year:2009
Person:Carole
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My e-mail friend Carole is a lover of big cats. There must be many like
her as the Big Cat Rescue internet site attests. Their love of cats brings
to mind that wonderful account of Christian-- the lion cub who was brought
up by two young English lads. Once Christian became too large to handle,
they brought him to an African lion preserve. That was a loving gesture--
no cage for their lion friend.

One day, as adults, the men decided to track him down. Would Christian
recognize them? How would he react? The You Tube video account of
this meeeting was beautiful, and many of us enjoyed it immensely. Christian
had not forgotten their loving care to him as a cub, and now overwhelmed
them (literally) with hugs and kisses. They almost toppled over from the
affection shown by this now powerful and huge lion. So, Carole you belong to
this group of people who unabashedly have a love affair and affection for the
big cats.

Because of your concern for a caged tiger, you asked me to cross post the
account of Tony the tiger who is caged in Louisiana, and whose story is featured
on Big Cat Rescue. Alas, I was not able to do this - perhaps because it was an
action account and not an article. I don't know - but at least I can write about
your profound concerns re Tony --with the hope that anyone sharing them
will be moved to take the actions asked at Big Cat Rescue.

Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue gave me permission to cross post-- in lieu of
that I am copying Big Cat Rescue's account of Tony's life in a cage. In our e-mail
exchanges, someone suggested that Tony was a she. Well, male or female--
here is Tony's sad story:

"For the last 15 years the number one complaint that comes to Big Cat Rescue
is the story of Tony, a tiger held hostage at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete,
Louisiana. Sometimes it is because the caller has unwittingly pulled into this
run down gas station and been horrified at what they saw. Sometimes it is
because they were traveling down 1-10 and saw the sign that reads: "Live Tiger
Exhibit" at the Tiger Truck Stop. Sometimes it is because the caller has seen
some mention of the place online. In all cases, most people exclaim, "How can
that be legal?"

Turns out it isn't. Unfortunately, a lot of places allow this sort of disgraceful
exhibit, but Iberville Parish, where the truck stop is located has banned such
displays since 1993. So why is there a live tiger in a tiny cage next to the gas
pumps in the 24 hour truck stop? Because the Iberville Parish doesn't want to
enforce their own rules againt "one of their own."

Big Cat Rescuers visited the site and noted that the fumes were noxious and the
sound of the dieseling trucks was deafening and unrelenting. There are flood
lights on the tiger's cage so that he never has a minute of darkness and never
gets a moment of peace from those who yell at him and throw things at him
to make him move. We are trying to convince the Iberville Parish that the right
thing to do is let the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries send Tony
the tiger to Big Cat Rescue. They seem to be more inclined to amend their ban
so that they can justify not enforcing it. They need to hear from you."

If you want to help, please go to www.bigcatrescue.org/FreeTony.htm.

There are links there which will help you do something for Tony before
February 17, 2009 when the Iberville Council meets to decide his fate.

1. See the video of the January Iberville Parish meeting and the news report.

2. See the cat fight that started when one of Sandlin's employees attacked a
friend of Tony's.

3. See the coverage on Fox News.

4. See 85 images of Tony's life at the truck stop

5. Sign a petition to free Tony.

Thanx Carole for alerting me to this poor tiger's terrible plight for the past 15
years. I certainly will do what I can to convince the Iberville Parish that Tony
has suffered enough. (I would like to add- while they shamefully ignored their
own law). However, people generally prefer to be treated with kindness and
respect and for Tony we can do this. He is also now on my prayer list. Some
people might laugh at this, but I believe a loving God cares for all His creatures.