Dec 12, 2011 4:23 PM by AP

Judge denies new trial motion for tiger owner

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A state district judge has denied a motion for a new trial requested by a Grosse Tete truck stop owner who keeps a tiger in a cage near Interstate 10.
State District Judge Mike Caldwell denied the motion filed Nov. 20 on behalf of Michael Sandlin, owner of Tony, a 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger at Tiger Truck Stop Inc. The motion was filed after Caldwell ruled the tiger would not be allowed to remain at Sandlin's truck stop.
Sandlin's attorney, Steve LeBlanc, said Monday that he would file a motion with the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals by the end of the week to put the judge's order on hold and allow Sandlin to keep Tony at the truck stop while appeals are pursued.
"We are looking mainly at constitutional issues, the taking of property without due process," LeBlanc said.
Bo Boehringer, a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesman, said Caldwell's judgment isn't final until the appeal process runs its course. If Sandlin's appeal is denied, Boehringer said his agency would give Sandlin 30 days to move Tony to a sanctuary of Sandlin's choosing.
Lisa Franzetta, communications director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said her organization has contacted accredited sanctuaries that are willing and able to take Tony at no cost to Sandlin or to the state of Louisiana.


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