Investigation of Law-Breaking Tiger Keeper Sought

Mike Stapleton Puts Animals and the Public at Risk, Says PETA

For Immediate Release:
April 30, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Marion County, Ohio – Despite regulations requiring facilities housing dangerous wild animals to have the necessary permits, Mike Stapleton, who is keeping tigers in Marion County, has not obtained a permit to have the animals. So today, PETA asked the Ohio Department of Agriculture to investigate for violations of state law.

Stapleton reportedly keeps five tigers in dilapidated cages made of corrugated sheet metal, wire, and cyclone fencing. Even though tigers have home ranges of up to hundreds of square miles with diverse topography, Stapleton forces the animals to walk and sleep on unnatural hard concrete or gravel, leaving them prone to stiffness, soreness, and arthritis, and doesn’t provide them with any meaningful enrichment.

“Keeping tigers jammed in cramped cages is like lighting a fuse and expecting it not to go off,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “Mike Stapleton has violated laws designed to protect Ohio’s citizens, and officials must take decisive enforcement action.”

Stapleton has been an outspoken critic of the new dangerous-animal regulations, which went into effect in January, more than two years after law-enforcement officers were forced to kill 48 wild animals who had been released by Zanesville resident Terry Thompson before he killed himself. Stapleton has referred to the new laws as “tree hugging bullshit” and urged Ohio residents to vote Gov. Ted Strickland—who issued an executive order banning private ownership of dangerous wild animals—out of office. Stapleton was also one of a group of plaintiffs who filed a complaint in a U.S. district court challenging the new laws. The challenge was later dismissed. PETA has also learned that the plaintiffs’ request for a new hearing was denied.

To see PETA’s letter to the Ohio Department of Agriculture and for more information, please visit PETA’s blog.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind