For Immediate Release:
June 15, 2021
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Louisville, Ky. – The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has just ordered Tim Stark and Wildlife in Need (WIN) to pay $733,997.70 to PETA in attorneys’ fees and expenses relating to the group’s successful Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against Stark. Because PETA is already owed $19,234.40 in unpaid fee awards from Stark and WIN, the group will be seeking to recover a total of $753,232.10. Below, please find a statement from PETA Foundation Director of Litigation Asher Smith in response to the ruling:
For years, Tim Stark cruelly tore big-cat cubs away from their mothers, removed their claws, and used them as photo props to make a buck, but now the long arm of the law has caught up with him. PETA looks forward to collecting its due and warns other sleazy roadside zoos that they could be next.
As part of PETA’s victory in the ESA case, 25 big cats were transferred from Stark and his former business partner Jeff Lowe—both of whom were featured in Tiger King—to accredited sanctuaries and Stark; his ex-wife, Melisa Lane; and WIN are permanently barred from owning or possessing big cats without court approval as well as from prematurely separating cubs from their mothers, declawing them, and using them in any cub-petting enterprise. The U.S. Department of Justice has cited PETA’s victory in its own ongoing litigation against Lowe.
In April, an Indiana state court ruling also permanently banned Stark from “acquiring, owning, and exhibiting any exotic or native animals, including all mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.” He is facing multiple criminal charges, including battery of an Office of the Attorney General of Indiana lawyer, and a hearing to bar Stark from owning firearms because he’s a “dangerous person.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.