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GROSSE TETE, La. -- After more than 11 years at the Tiger Truck Stop, Tony the Bengal tiger has found a new home. Tiger Truck Stop owner Mike Sandlin has agreed to transfer Tony to the G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Okla., if he is forced to move the animal following State District Judge Mike Caldwell's ruling to revoke his housing permit.
Sandlin and G.W. Park director Joe Schreibvogel agreed to several conditions for the move, according to the announcement. Tony's enclosure will be located at the back of the park and not on display for the public; neither his name nor the Tiger Truck Stop's name will be used in future fundraising or advertisements; Tony's name will be changed; and in the case that Sandlin wins his appeal and is permitted to keep Tony, another tiger in need will be rescued and placed at the park in Tony's honor.
The planned 10,000-square-feet compound includes a swimming pool, waterfall and shade trees, and is estimated to cost more than $120,000 to build. Sandlin will be allowed to visit Tony once the move is complete.
"We are sure someone will have something to say about him coming to our park, and we are expecting that, but we are proud to be the one selected to take him in and that is why we voluntarily put in the contract to change [his] name and not to promote him at our park. People have made way too much money off of him already," said Schreibvogel. "He would only be exploited more if he went to a facility in Florida or anywhere else, and he just doesn't deserve that any longer."