Law-Breaking Tiger Keeper Slapped With 30-Day Notice After PETA Complaint

Mike Stapleton Is Required to Comply With Regulations Within 30 Days or Relinquish Suffering Animals

For Immediate Release:
May 8, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Prospect, Ohio – 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 five tigers were being 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.

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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