Update: April 7, 2021
In an exciting win for the Office of the Indiana Attorney General and animals, the Marion Superior Court ruled in the attorney general’s favor in a lawsuit claiming that Tiger King villain Tim Stark unlawfully used the nonprofit assets of his now-defunct roadside zoo, Wildlife in Need, for personal expenses, including a failed venture with Jeff Lowe in Oklahoma, which resulted in the deaths of numerous animals Stark had transported across state lines.
The ruling also prohibits Stark from “acquiring, owning, and exhibiting any exotic or native animals, including all mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.” In other words, his days of terrorizing exotic and native animals are over.
Thanks to the attorney general’s determination, the dozens of animals seized from Stark’s barren cages are now permanently safe from that tiger-abusing leopard killer.
Now that the nightmare of Stark’s victims is over, PETA is looking to Indiana officials to see that the rescued animals live the rest of their lives in qualified facilities that can give them the care that they deserve.
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Update: October 9, 2020
Tim Stark’s time on the run has come to a crashing halt—the owner of the now-defunct Wildlife in Need (WIN) roadside zoo in southern Indiana was arrested on Wednesday night in New York. He was found holed up in a bed and breakfast, reportedly in possession of a toy grenade, after an anonymous tipster turned him in. A warrant was issued last month for the notorious animal exhibitor’s arrest, after he was accused of intimidating state officials and refused to disclose the location of animals who went missing from the WIN property.
JUST IN: Wildlife in Need's Tim Stark is in custody in Washington County, NY. being held on a Clark County felony warrant. @WHAS11 pic.twitter.com/b1T5RRmWpg
— Brooke Hasch (@WHAS11Hasch) October 8, 2020
Stark’s arrest coincides with news of his fellow Tiger King villain “Doc” Antle’s indictment in Virginia yesterday for cruelty to animals and wildlife trafficking—confirmation that the animal abusers featured in the Netflix docuseries are like dominos: falling one by one.
Originally published on September 18, 2020:
BREAKING: It’s game over for former tiger terrorizer Tim Stark! Earlier today, PETA, The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, and the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas removed 22 tigers, lions, and tiger/lion hybrids from Indiana’s Wildlife in Need (WIN), which was operated by Tiger King villain Stark and his ex-wife, Melissa Lane. The rescue follows an order in PETA’s successful Endangered Species Act lawsuit against the now-defunct roadside zoo.
RESCUED! The cages are finally empty!
PETA just confiscated 22 big cats from #TigerKing villain Tim Stark’s shabby roadside zoo following our ESA win. Now they'll finally get the care they need at @animalsanctuary & @turpentinecreek: https://t.co/kDQJugVvw5 pic.twitter.com/7I2qsPpIG4
— PETA (@peta) September 20, 2020
U.S. Marshals provided security for the operation, which went smoothly despite threats made by Stark in ranting videos he posted to Facebook. In addition to suggesting that his supporters obstruct animal transport vehicles, he identified a PETA attorney by name, brandished a rifle, and indicated that he was “taught to shoot and kill” people like those at PETA. In response, the court ordered Stark to be at least 2 miles from the property on the day of the transfer.
Here at PETA, we’re celebrating the new life that awaits these 22 survivors, who will at last be able to roam natural terrain, swim when they choose to, and never be terrorized by Tim Stark again.
In addition to the 22 rescued big cats, state authorities and representatives from the Indianapolis Zoo removed even more animals from WIN this week. Stark was since accused of hiding some of these animals from officials, which led to an Indiana judge issuing a warrant for his arrest. He is now wanted by local law enforcement and reportedly on the run.
An Indianapolis judge has issued an arrest warrant for Tim Stark, holding him in contempt of court. We are at Wildlife in Need where someone just sped off of the property, in Stark’s truck. pic.twitter.com/eAlOrc0998
— Shay McAlister (@ShayMcAlisterTV) September 16, 2020
Because Stark transferred four young lions to Jeff Lowe—also of Tiger King and operator of the now-defunct roadside zoo Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park—the latter was also a defendant in PETA’s lawsuit. Lions remain at the former Oklahoma tourist trap, and PETA is working with an accredited sanctuary to ensure that they get to enjoy their best lives, too.
This victory serves as a warning to the entire big-cat cub-petting industry: Its days are numbered. Nonetheless, just as we couldn’t have rescued these 22 big cats without your help, we need your continued support. Please help PETA get more animals out of the hands of other cruel exhibitors: