Tim Stark of the now-closed Wildlife in Need in Charlestown, IN, is being sued by a woman who says his monkey attacked and injured her in 2020.
The civil lawsuit was initiated Feb. 1, 2022, by Whitney Settles who said she was visiting Planet Pets in Lawrenceburg, IN, at the same time that Stark was present at the facility with his pet monkey.
Documents indicate Stark encouraged Settles to handle and play with the monkey. At some point during the interaction the monkey became spooked and bit Settles left hand and thumb, causing her physical injury and pain, court records say.
Settles is asking for a judgment against Stark, Wildlife In Need and Planet Pets.
Stark was made famous in the Netflix series Tiger King. For years Stark was accused of severely neglecting his animals with more than 120 violations of the Animal Welfare Act on his record. Stark was also accused of misappropriating nonprofit funds and using them to pay his own personal expenses.
In early 2021, Stark was permanently banned from acquiring, owning or exhibiting animals. Stark was also ordered to return all funds that he misappropriated from his nonprofit.
Last month, Stark filed for bankruptcy with his biggest creditors being PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the Indianapolis Zoo, and the state of Indiana.
Stark’s assets have been frozen due to the ongoing litigation. On January 25, Stark put in a request to modify the freeze order to pay himself $5,000 per month for living expenses.
“Since July 17th 2021, Mr. Stark has been allowed access to zero ($0.00) per month for his living expense which is, of course, not sufficient to meet his daily living expenses,” Stark said in the court filing.
On January 12, 2022, Stark apparently violated a 2021 court order by exhibiting his pet monkey, named “Digimon,” on Facebook Live. The monkey was shown sitting on the lap of Marc Ang from The Published Reporter. It is unclear if Digimon is the same monkey that bit Settles in 2020.
Monkey attack complaint:
Tim Stark motion to release funds: