PETA Seeks Criminal Charges Against Law-Breaking Nye County Tiger Owner

Karl Mitchell Puts Actor Michelle Rodriguez—and Others—Face to Face With Dangerous Big Cat 13 Years After His License Was Revoked

For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Pahrump, Nev.

Today, PETA sent a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Justice asking that criminal charges be brought against notorious Pahrump animal abuser Karl Mitchell, who carries right on exhibiting tigers even though his legally required USDA exhibitor’s license was permanently revoked in 2001. Recently taken photos show actor Michelle Rodriguez and model Cara Delevingne walking and even kissing one of the juvenile tigers exhibited by Mitchell. Although the maximum allowable age for tigers to have direct physical contact with the public is 3 months, PETA has learned that the tiger in the photos was more than twice that age at the time of the shoot.

Mitchell has a long list of violations of federal animal welfare laws and Nye County regulations as well as previous criminal convictions, and documents just obtained by PETA further reveal that the USDA referred Mitchell’s case for prosecution to the U.S. Attorney’s Office last year for his unlicensed involvement in an Animal Planet shoot, the Bradley Cooper film Hit and Run, and a photo shoot with Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green. PETA is following up with the U.S. Attorney’s Office about its case and urging the USDA to seek additional criminal charges against Mitchell for his continued unlawful conduct.

“There are laws and regulations to protect animals and prevent the public from being harmed by animals, and Karl Mitchell has violated them,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “Michelle Rodriguez and others were lucky this time, but a vigorous and long-overdue criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice could help save animals and people from harm.”

Mitchell’s exhibitor’s license was revoked because of repeated violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including denying water to 5-week-old cubs. The USDA has also issued Mitchell three cease-and-desist orders—which he violated—and has ordered him to pay more than $100,000 in fines. After numerous PETA complaints, Nye County revoked his permit to keep tigers and is now seeking the removal of the cats in a civil lawsuit.

For more information, please visit PETA’s blog.

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