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Update: Government Files Lawsuit Against Tiger Abuser

Written by PETA | January 13, 2014

Update: The U.S. Department of Agriculture rarely yanks exhibitors’ licenses, but tiger exhibitor Karl Mitchell had so many egregious animal welfare violations that his exhibitor’s license was revoked more than 10 years ago and he was fined $27,500. But that didn’t stop Mitchell, who flagrantly ignored the law, continued to exhibit animals illegally, and was issued no fewer than three cease-and-desist orders and ultimately assessed fines exceeding $100,000.

After PETA filed numerous complaints, officials in Mitchell’s home base of Nye County, Nevada, also revoked his conditional use permit to house tigers—another order that he simply ignored. Now, Nye County has finally filed a civil injunctive action ordering the removal of the big cats from the property.

Originally posted on April 17, 2013:

Karl Mitchell’s days of terrorizing big cats in Nevada’s Nye County are numbered now that the notorious animal abuser and unrepentant lawbreaker has had his permit to keep exotic animals revoked by the county’s board of commissioners based on information that it received from PETA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Like Abu Ghraib for Tigers

Mitchell, who owns an appalling tiger menagerie called Big Cat Encounters, has been exhibiting animals even though his exhibitor’s license was permanently yanked by the USDA in 2001, meaning that the county shouldn’t have issued him a permit in the first place.

In February 2012, PETA called on the USDA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to seek criminal charges against Mitchell for exhibiting tigers and transporting them across state lines without a license. The federal investigations are still pending.

Over the years, the USDA has cited Mitchell repeatedly for a wide range of atrocious Animal Welfare Act violations, which include cruelly withholding water as a training technique, continuing to exhibit big cats illegally, and failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care and living conditions and palatable food and water—just to name a few. Mitchell has also been slapped with three cease-and-desist orders (which he, of course, defied) and more than $100,000 in fines.

What You Can Do

Although Mitchell is a particularly flagrant and disgraceful example of the low ethical standards of his industry, misery is inescapable for all animals who are imprisoned so that they can furnish a momentary diversion instead of living their natural lives in freedom. Please never patronize any captive-animal attraction.

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  • Syl says:

    I’m so mad he isn’t arrested yet. Those tigers deserve better…

  • Angie says:

    Animal Planet had a show on called Fatal Attractions and this is why I looked Karl up. Their was no mention of abuse just that he has PTSD. He cried over his tigers and claims his love for them.

  • Jacqueline Hohmann says:

    Peta, I have seen Ben’s pathetic enclosure. Please keep working to free him!

  • Patty Bowers says:

    This is a great START, but abusers need to go to JAIL. period.

  • Stella says:

    All of those animals have every right to be free, in their natural habitat, not in some sort of metal cage that people can come gawk at them. That stupid, non-feeling fail of a human deserved to be locked up in his own cage for the rest of his miserable life.

  • Diana says:

    There should be jail time, period for this individual. Are you kidding! We need to start sending a message. Enough already!!

  • Gloria Schultz says:

    I’m so sick of animal abuse these animals need to be freed into the wild, they need taken away from abuse all animals feel pain as you and I do please protect the tigers.

  • Betty Schneider says:

    How long must these innocent tigers be held in abusive captivity? What will it take to make the USDA and county commissioners to stop pushing paper around and put their foot down? We need merciful action now — the bureaucracies in charge must make compassionate changes and catch up to a more humane 21st Century.

  • Maria Dassing says:

    Animals are precious beings who feel pain and suffering. Protect them all.

  • deborah says:

    wonderful for the tigers. dont understand how such a person could get away with that. He should be caged and mistreated for the rest of his hopefully miserable life.

  • Jennifer says:

    Send him to PAWS!

  • Vicky Semones says:

    Thank god. And yet, surely there must be some more compelling action we can take with local authorities, the USDA and Fish & Wildlife, etc., EARLIER, to release these beautiful animals from abuse. Thank you for your efforts.

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