(CHARLESTOWN) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has ordered Tim Stark, the owner of Wildlife in Need, to close after revoking his license.
Stark is facing $340,000 in fines, including $40,000 that must be paid directly by Stark for violating the Animal Welfare Act more than 120 times between January 2012 and January 2016.
Stark says his nonprofit rescues and rehabilitates animals and has a mix of exotic species including lions, tigers, bears, lemurs, sloths and prairie dogs.
According to a 183-page USDA report, Stark has harassed federal inspectors over the years, failed to provide proper veterinary care to some sick or dying animals and even beat a young leopard to death with a baseball bat.
Stark has 60 days to file for judicial review with the United States Court of Appeals. He also faces a lawsuit, filed by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, that could allow state officials to remove animals from Wildlife in Need and place them in “court approved animal sanctuaries.”