UPDATE: More than a year after PETA tipped off authorities that Mike Stapleton was illegally confining five tigers to dilapidated cages, the Ohio Department of Agriculture is doing the right thing by seizing the tigers.
This animal exploiter spent more than two years fighting Ohio’s exotic-animal laws instead of complying with them, and Marion County will be far safer without his ramshackle backyard menagerie.
PETA hopes to see the animals placed at a reputable sanctuary.
Originally Published May 8, 2015:
Mike Stapleton, who is notorious for illegally harboring tigers on his private property, has been hit with an official 30-day notice from the Ohio Department of Agriculture requiring that he comply with laws mandating minimum standards of care for tigers or surrender the animals to authorities. The notice follows a PETA complaint pointing out reports that found five tigers housed in dilapidated cages made of corrugated sheet metal, wire, and cyclone fencing—forcing the animals to walk and sleep on hard concrete or gravel with no meaningful enrichment.
“PETA has long urged Ohio officials to do the right thing by seizing these suffering tigers who are being held illegally,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “An accredited sanctuary stands ready to take them in, where they’ll finally have a chance to heal in an environment that’s able to meet their unique, complex needs.”
Stapleton has been an outspoken critic of Ohio’s new dangerous-animal regulations, which went into effect in 2014—more than two years after law-enforcement officers were forced to kill dozens of wild animals who had been released by Zanesville resident Terry Thompson before he killed himself. Stapleton was one of a group of plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the new laws. The challenge was later dismissed, and a court of appeals affirmed the dismissal.