Victory: Roadside Zoo Ordered to Stop Declawing, Exhibiting Lion and Tiger Cubs

PETA Request Granted for Preliminary Injunction Against 'Wildlife in Need' for Wounding, Harming, and Harassing Federally Protected Big Cats

For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Charlestown, Ind. – The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has granted PETA’s request for a Preliminary Injunction (PI)—an extraordinary form of relief issued when the court finds that irreparable injury will result without it—against Tim and Melisa Stark and their roadside zoo, Wildlife in Need. The order immediately stops the Starks and the facility from carrying out declawing amputations on big cats, separating cubs from their mothers without medical necessity, and holding its “Tiger Baby Playtime” events, which subject cubs to hours of direct contact with the public, pending the trial in PETA’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) suit.

“The court has done the right thing in stopping Wildlife in Need from tearing cubs away from their mothers for use as public playthings and amputating their toes, which can leave them with lifelong lameness, pain, and psychological distress,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA looks forward to seeing the Starks permanently forbidden from mutilating, exploiting, and profiting off baby animals.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has repeatedly cited Tim Stark for abusive handling of cubs, even suspending his federal Animal Welfare Act license at least twice. Additionally, a USDA inspection in March 2017 found that at least 20 exotic cats had been declawed at Wildlife in Need. The PI ruling found that two big-cat cubs had died and that declawing at least contributed to their deaths. Additionally, PETA’s evidence showed that half the big-cat cubs born or acquired in 2017 for use in the “Tiger Baby Playtime” events had died.

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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