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Truck stop gets permit to keep tiger

GROSSE TETE, La., Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Louisiana wildlife officials said a truck stop was awarded a permit allowing it to keep the state's only privately owned tiger.

Officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said Michael Sandlin, owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, was the only one of three big cat owners in the state to apply for "grandfather" permits following the passing of a 2006 legislative action prohibiting private ownership of potentially dangerous animals, the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate reported Tuesday.

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Davidson said Sandlin's permit was tied up due to an Iberville Parish ordinance banning ownership of large cats but the parish passed an ordinance in March allowing the tiger to stay under certain conditions. The conditions imposed by the parish include staff training, liability insurance and providing a veterinarian-approved diet for the animal.

Sandlin, who received the permit this month, said he is glad to be able to keep Tony the tiger, but disappointed he will not be able to replace the 9-year-old animal after it dies.

"Once Tony's gone, it's all over with," Sandlin said. "After 22 years of exhibiting tigers and owning tigers, there's certainly an emotional attachment."

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