After more than 10 years of animal abuse and neglect allegations, Tim Stark of Indiana’s Wildlife In Need (WIN) may be permanently banned from owning or exhibiting animals ever again.
According to court documents, Stark made millions through his cub petting operation Tiger Baby Play Time, charging people to play with infant cubs he took from their mothers and adding on a $20 fee if they wanted pictures.
Prior to starting Tiger Baby Play Time in 2014, WIN’s revenue never exceeded $100,000. After starting Tiger Baby Play Time, WIN’s revenue consistently increased, exceeding $1 million in 2016 and 2017, with more than 33,000 people visiting the roadside zoo each year.
Stark defrauded the public by leading them to believe the money they were paying the nonprofit would be used for conservation. Instead, the money was used to pay Stark’s personal bills, to purchase more animals, and to fund a 2019 failed zoo venture in Oklahoma that resulted in the death of 15-20 animals during transportation, documents say.
The animals at WIN had previously been removed due to court order, based on a March 2020 inspection where officials found the facility was inadequate to meet the animals’ physical and mental needs, cages were “filthy” and not “constructed to any codes,” and enclosures lacked “proper shelter and heat” for animal safety, and posed safety hazards for both animal and human occupants, documents say.
According to court documents, Indiana has submitted an order asking the judge to find the state has proven their claims. According to the order:
>Timothy Stark is permanently enjoined from acquiring, owning, and exhibiting any exotic or native animals, including all mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians
>Timothy Stark is required to return to WIN all funds and assets misappropriated from WIN in an amount and inventory to be determined by the Corporate Receiver
>Placement of the animals with the Indianapolis Zoological Society
If the judge signs the order, Tim Stark would never be allowed to open another roadside zoo again.
Full court documents:
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