Friday, December 26, 2008

Owner of wild cats receives extension

Owner of wild cats receives extension

By Jeff Pope

Wed, Dec 24, 2008 (11:35 a.m.)

Man to surrender exotic animal license after panther attack (10-23-
2008)

A Lone Mountain man may be able to keep his wild cats for at least
another six months.

County commissioners reversed an earlier agreement with Andy Kay to
have him surrender his exotic animal permit on Dec. 17 and instead on
that day agreed to allow him to keep two exotic animals on his
property as long as he upgrades security there and receives no
violations from Animal Control.

During an October meeting, commissioners said Kay's once sparsely
populated, rural neighborhood is now too urban for wild animals to be
housed there. But on Dec. 17 commissioners said they changed their
minds, saying Kay has met enough of the required upgrades to give him
more time to be in full compliance with county codes.

Commissioners gave Kay six months to complete security upgrades. If
he completes them in time, Kay can keep his permit for two exotic
animals until July 2010, when the permit comes up for review again.
It wasn't clear if Kay intends to keep exotic animals beyond 2010.

Kay, who lives near Ann Road and Riley Street, has been rescuing
animals for the federal government and has kept some, including
panthers and leopards, on his property. He said he considers it his
passion and does it as a service to save the animals.

Kay was before the commission on Dec. 17 to ask for more time to move
the animals to his property in Washoe County.

Washoe has not approved a permit yet and Russell Skuse, who
represented Kay at the meeting, said the single-digit temperatures
upstate were adverse to the cats' health. Skuse asked for an
extension to the spring so the cages could be properly outfitted.

"We want to make it right. We want to make sure everything is in its
place, but we feel like we haven't been given that opportunity," he
said.

He currently has two African Servals ­— spotted felines that can grow
up to 2 feet tall and weigh up to 55 pounds.

An exotic animal is defined as any non-domesticated wildlife.

The commission considered revoking his exotic animals permit in
October after numerous complaints from neighbors and Animal Control,
leading to the agreement then that Kay surrender the license Dec. 17.

Many in the area believed one of Kay's black panthers escaped and was
responsible for an attack on a puppy in the neighborhood in March —
an incident in which responding police shot at but missed a panther
running loose.

Kay said he had two panthers at the time, but they were both locked
up securely.

Commissioners said they weren't convinced the panther that attacked
the dog belonged to Kay and several congratulated him for his rescue
efforts.

The March attack did call attention to the safety of neighbors and to
students at Dean Allen Elementary School located about 100 yards from
Kay's home.

Neither the school nor the houses were around Kay when he started
rescuing wild animals 11 years ago, Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani
said.

"I believe this is one of those situations where they were properly
permitted and we, along with the city, allowed zoning and
encroachment to come into play, which then puts them in an awkward
position," she said.

Giunchigliani also criticized Animal Control for levying violations
on Kay based on a proposed exotic animal ordinance that the
Commission has not adopted.

Kay will have to improve security on his property.

He will have to place GPS locator collars on the cats, provide Animal
Control with photos and identity information and provide emergency
contact information on a sign on the property in the event of an
incident. Kay will be responsible for notifying the school and police
if an animal escapes. He cannot advertise what animals are kept on
the premises.

Kay has six months to complete as many of the provisions as possible.

The board allowed Kay to keep his permit with the new provisions by a
6-0 vote. Commissioner Rory Reid was absent.

Kay told the commissioners he has no problem with the provisions and
already replaced a warped fence with 9-gauge chain-link fencing and
is in the process of obtaining a permit for an 8-foot-tall block wall.

Commissioner Susan Brager, who has three grandsons who live in the
neighborhood, worries more about the public bothering the animals
than the opposite.

"Children are inquisitive. For 10-, 12-year-old boys, there's nothing
greater than to go looking at something like that whether you tell
them not to or not," she said.

Jeff Pope can be reached at 990-2688 or jeff.pope@hbcpub.com.


--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org
SaveTheBigCats@gmail.com

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hearing delayed on truck-stop tiger

Hearing delayed on truck-stop tiger

  • By GREG GARLAND
  • Advocate Westside bureau
  • Published: Dec 24, 2008 - Page: 2B - UPDATED: 12:05 a.m.

The fate of a tiger exhibited at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has shifted from the courts to the Iberville Parish Council.

A court hearing that had been set for Dec. 29 has been postponed to allow the council time to consider amending a 1993 parish ordinance that bars private individuals from exhibiting dangerous, wild animals such as tigers.

Attorneys involved in the case agreed to the delay in a joint legal motion filed on Monday.

If the council amends the law, it opens the door for Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin to continue keeping a 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger as a roadside attraction.

Sandlin could be forced to move the tiger if the council refuses, however, because he would not qualify for a permit from the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Animal welfare activists have complained for years that a barred cage with a concrete floor at a truck stop is not a suitable environment for tigers Sandlin has displayed as roadside attractions.

Sandlin has said he has kept tigers for 20 years without escapes or injuries to humans and that the animals are well cared for at the truck stop.

The issue of what to do about Tony, the only tiger still on display, came up briefly at a council meeting earlier this month. Opposing sides nearly came to blows in a hallway confrontation afterward until a police officer restored order.

Iberville Parish Council Chairman Gene Stevens said, "It really doesn't matter to me" what the council decides to do on the issue.

"The cat's been there eight and a half years and as far as I'm concerned, it can stay there," Stevens said. "But it's up to the whole council, not me."

The move to shift the tussle over the tiger from the legal arena to the political domain of the Parish Council was initiated by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Bo Boehringer, an agency spokesman for the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, confirmed Tuesday that the agency's attorney suggested a delay in the court hearing until the council considers the issue.

Sandlin's attorney and an attorney for the Parish Council agreed to the proposal during a telephone conference call on Friday, according to a copy of the court filings.

http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/36675329.html

Carole's Note:

Please write the council and ask that they enforce their 1993 ban on the exhibition of wild animals and NOT make an exception for the Tiger Truck Stop.  We make it easy for you to do here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=12310506&type=CU

--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org
SaveTheBigCats@gmail.com

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tony the tiger’s fate lies with court

Tony the tiger's fate lies with court

By Deidre Cruse
Post South
Fri Dec 19, 2008, 11:16 PM CST

Village of Grosse Tete, La. -

The courts will decide the fate of "Tony" the tiger, the roadside attraction at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete who has gained the attention of both animal rights activists and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Truck stop Michael Sandlin filed suit in 18th Judicial District Court last week and won a temporary injunction to stop Wildlife and Fisheries from requiring to move the tiger to an approved facility. Iberville Parish, which has an ordinance against keeping wild, exotic, vicious animals and reptiles, also was named as a defendant in the action.

District Judge Robin Free has set a hearing for 9:30 a.m. Monday (December 29) to hear arguments on a permanent restraining order.

Meanwhile, the issue got a brief hearing at the Iberville Parish Council meeting last week. Council Chairman Eugene P. Stevens Jr. allowed an animal rights spokeswoman and Sandlin three minutes each to state their cases.

Independent animal "rescuer" Sky Williamson, backed by animal rights activists from around the country and by local residents, called on the Iberville Parish Council last week to enforce the parish ordinance.

"The tiger needs to be in a different environment for its own health and safety, and for the protection of the public," Williamson told the council.

She said Iberville Parish had created a local ordinance to protect animals, and argued that Sandlin had accumulated a list of violations of U. S. Department of Agriculture regulations over the past 20 years.

"There is no way Sandlin will ever meet the requirements..." Williamson said.

She argued the tiger needed to be cared for by professionals, and that the public should be protected from potential tiger attacks.

"Please do not give in to animal rights advocates who think they know what is best for the tiger," Sandlin urged.

He said the tiger has a proper diet, "the best veterinary care," and  has been "only an asset to Iberville Parish and the community."

Sandlin said the tiger does draw customers to the truck stop, and that the animal is beloved by his 35 employees and customers, alike.

"Do not let Tony be taken away from the only home he has known, and the people who love him," Sandlin said.

After the brief remarks, the representatives of the two sides got into a shouting match outside the council chambers.

John Robbins, a Humane Society member from Metairie, said a woman who attended with Sandlin's party had grabbed the purse of another Humane Society member, Phaedra Wolber of New Orleans.

Robbins said when he stood between Wolber and the other woman, a man accused him of attacking his wife.

The incident was over by the time the Plaquemine Police got to the scene to escort Williamson to her car.

In a brief interview before the council meeting, Williamson, a cable television representative, told the POST/SOUTH she had come to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and had been here since then.

She said she began her campaign after she happened to stop at the truck stop and was overcome by the smell of the tiger's cage.

"Before I got out of my car, I could smell feces," she said.

She said the USDA in 2003 had proposed to take and was poised to take four tigers Sandlin maintained at the truck stop, but had agreed to let him keep the one.

Last summer, the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries passed new regulations on ownership of big cats.

In his petition to the court, Sandlin's lawyer said Sandlin met all the requirements, except one that requires him to comply with other federal, state or local laws.

The Iberville Parish ordinance outlaws keeping exotic vicious animals for display or exhibition. Sandlin argued the ordinance hasn't been enforced at his business since the law was adopted in 1993.

Tiger Truck Stop, however, is located within the Village of Grosse Tete, which Mayor Michael Chauffe said has a local law governing vicious dogs, but nothing addressing exotic animals. State laws would supercede any local ordinance, anyway, the mayor said.

Mayor Chauffe said representatives of Sandlin's side had appeared at the last Grosse Tete Board of Aldermen meeting seeking a resolution to ask the Parish Council to consider allowing the tiger to remain at the truck stop.

Chauffe said he agreed to ask the Parish Council for consideration if Sandlin provided proof that he has satisfied all the requirements of Wildlife and Fisheries. He said he has not gotten any documentation.

"My main concern is the safety and well-being of the tiger," the mayor said, noting that the animal had never posed a threat to the community. "I don't live far form the truck stop. When [the tiger's] mad, he gets so loud he roars. A lot of people do stop to look at the tiger."
 

http://www.postsouth.com/news/x1647200325/Tony-the-tiger-s-fate-lies-with-court



Tony the Truck Stop Tiger

Video of the truck stop from Dec. 16, 2008 and the Iberville Parish Meeting

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t74NNFTdN-k


Video of the cat fight that broke out after the above meeting

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RtlMxgDlJY


Video comparing Tony's current existence to what Big Cat Rescue is offering him

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg4GFewIycM


More info about the Tiger Truck Stop including 20 years of USDA violations

http://www.911animalabuse.com/00abusers/tigertruckstop.htm


Write a letter to help save him here and the update of the new judge info

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=12310506&type=CU


Help by texting TIGER to 20222 or donate here:

http://www.BigCatRescue.org/donate.htm

Big Cat Rescue is asking people in Tony's area to find someplace that we can purchase straw to help keep Tony comfortable while awaiting the December 29 trial that will determine his fate.


--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org
SaveTheBigCats@gmail.com

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Monday, December 01, 2008

Daryl Atkinson Loses License Gets Slap on Wrist

By Jason Geary
THE LEDGER

Published: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 10:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 10:20 p.m.

BARTOW | The founder of a Davenport wildlife center was sentenced Tuesday to three years' probation and must get rid of his animals.

Darryl Atkinson was accused of accepting money in exchange for signing off on people's community service hours for work they didn't perform.

Atkinson, 52, pleaded no contest to grand theft, culpable negligence and four counts of maintaining captive wildlife in an unsafe or unsanitary condition.

Prosecutors dropped a charge of forgery.

Circuit Judge Dennis Maloney agreed to withhold adjudication, which is a formal finding of guilt that can strip a person of certain rights.

As part of a plea deal, Atkinson agreed to surrender two wildlife licenses.

He is also prohibited from working or consulting about captive wildlife in Florida.

He must get rid of all wildlife in his possession within six months.

Gary Morse, a spokesman with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said Atkinson has already divested himself of many of his large animals, including lions, tigers and bears.

Morse said inspectors would soon visit to see whether any animals remain.

Atkinson did not return a telephone call Tuesday seeking comment.

For years, Atkinson, who founded Horseshoe Creek Wildlife Foundation near Davenport, has had a contentious relationship with wildlife inspectors.

In May 2007, Atkinson entered into a plea agreement on multiple counts of maintaining wildlife in an unsafe condition.

The agreement called for Atkinson to receive money to improve his cages.

Local defense lawyers contributed $1,775, and the State Attorney's Office authorized the donation of $3,000 from fines paid in vice cases.

In February, Atkinson was arrested after an undercover officer posed as a person who needed to perform 100 hours community service, according to an arrest report.

The officer's meeting with Atkinson was secretly recorded, during which Atkinson agreed to sign his paper work for $400, the report states.

In March, Atkinson lost a license for not meeting federal requirements (USDA) and the center was closed to the public.

[ Jason Geary can be reached at jason.geary@theledger.com or 863-802-7536. ]


http://www.theledger.com/article/20081125/NEWS/811250363/1338/NEWS08



--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org
SaveTheBigCats@gmail.com

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.