(NEW YORK) – Wildlife in Need owner Timothy Stark was arrested in Washington County, New York. He was more than 800 miles northeast of Wildlife in Need’s property in Charlestown, Indiana.
“This is just the beginning of a process that we hope will lead to Stark being held accountable for his wrongdoings,” Attorney General Hill said. “We look forward to Stark’s extradition to Indiana so that he may have his day in court.”
A warrant for Stark’s arrest was issued on September 16th after was issued Sept. 16 after a court issued a judgment against Stark for allegedly removing and/or concealing animals from authorities. Attorney General Hill and his staff last month worked with Indianapolis Zoo officials and law enforcement to ensure that animals were removed from Wildlife In Need.
Approximately 161 animals were removed from the Wildlife In Need premises over the course of six days in September. However, many animals that had previously been seen on the property were missing. Those animals included six spider monkeys; two toucans; one pied crow; one African grey parrot; two macaws; one caracal; one ocelot; three fishing cats; two cougars; two Asian small-clawed otters; one prehensile porcupine; and two African crested porcupines.
About $50,000 worth of those missing animals, including a sloth, Debrazza monkeys, and booted macaques, were later found in a closed box truck located on a neighbor’s property outside of the premises, lacking food, water, light and ventilation. The remaining animals are still missing.
On Sept. 28, Stark was charged in Clark County with felony intimidation and misdemeanor battery. Those charges stem from a March incident involving an Indiana deputy attorney general who was inspecting the Wildlife In Need property.
Wildlife In Need has claimed over the years to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife before returning animals to their native habitats. In reality, Attorney General Hill said, Wildlife In Need has purchased animals and subjected them to a life of suffering.
Stark, according to court documents, has a history of hoarding animals in deplorable living conditions, abusing and neglecting animals, trafficking animals, hiding animals from government authorities and attempting to move Wildlife In Need animals out of state. The state’s allegations include horrifying details related to Stark’s methods of “euthanasia” and his abuse of animals in his care.
Attorney General Hill sued Wildlife In Need in February following a months-long investigation into the nonprofit organization. Attorney General Hill alleged that for years, Stark has embezzled Wildlife In Need assets for his own purposes. That lawsuit seeks the return of those embezzled assets and Wildlife In Need’s dissolution.