PETA Statement: Wildlife in Need’s Owners Hit With New Lawsuit

For Immediate Release:
February 11, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Charlestown, Ind. – Below, please find a statement from PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet in response to a civil complaint filed this morning by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office against Tim and Melisa Stark, the owners and operators of Wildlife in Need, for violations relating to their failure to operate the roadside zoo in line with its purported charitable mission:

This new suit is one more nail in the coffin for Wildlife in Need. A PETA lawsuit already looms over its cruel big-cat cub encounter program, and—just last week—the USDA issued an order to revoke its Animal Welfare Act license. This new suit describes Tim Stark’s abusive acts, including punching a sloth in the face, throwing a monkey across a room, and kicking and stomping on a tiger cub who wouldn’t play with him during a public encounter. Moreover, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office agrees with PETA and the USDA that declawing big cats is abuse. PETA has long called for all animals to be removed from this terrible place and sent to reputable facilities, and this complaint asks the court to do just that.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals. For more information, please visit

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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