Tony the Tiger is dead. The Bengal-Siberian Tiger whose captivity at an I-10 truckstop has been the center of controversy for several years was euthanized on Monday. While Tony was certainly a point of interest to I-10 travelers he was also the focus of an intense legal and ethical debate.

Officials with the Animal Legal Defense Fund spent more than seven years attempting to free Tony from his tourist attraction confines. The organization said in a statement that,

We are devastated that despite our best efforts, he lived and died caged at a truck stop that could never provide the life he deserved.

The group also vowed to fight any attempt to replace Tony with another tiger. According to a story on NOLA.com a spokesman for the group suggested.

there will never be a Tony II or Tony III who will have to suffer the same fate.

There has been no comment from Tony's keepers and owners.

 

The Baton Rouge Advocate reported that the 17-year-old animal was euthanized because of health issues on Monday.

Tony was housed at the Tiger Truckstop in Grosse Tete which is about 35 miles east of Lafayette. Tony was quite a fixture for I-10 travelers through the years. According to reports, flowers and candles have been left at Tony's cage by those wanting to offer their condolences.