It has been a turbulent week for Tim Stark, who was taken into custody yesterday after threats of violence and suicide.
Stark was one of the players featured in the Netflix documentary Tiger King, and for years he has been embroiled in controversy over his neglectful and cruel animal care practices.
Stark had been accused of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act more than 120 times. He admitted to euthanizing a leopard cub by beating it to death with a baseball bat. During a failed zoo venture in Oklahoma in 2019, 15-20 animals in Stark’s possession died during transportation. Stark was also known for declawing tigers, a practice that causes lifelong pain and suffering for the animals.
On Wednesday, Stark learned he had lost the court case against him and a judge ordered he be permanently banned from owning or exhibiting animals. His animals were awarded to the Indiana Zoological Society to find permanent placement. He was also ordered to pay back all of the funds he misappropriated from the nonprofit Wildlife In Need, located in Charlestown, IN, which has now been dissolved.
Later that evening, Stark took to Facebook live with a syringe strapped to his arm and a gun at his side. He referred to the syringe as PETA and he threatened to commit suicide at 5 p.m. April 8, unless the judge who ruled against him justified the ruling.
"I'm demanding that we do a virtual, public hearing," Stark said in the video. "I want reasoning behind your ruling.”
Stark also threatened to shoot anyone that came onto his property.
When the judge ignored Stark’s demands, Stark took to Facebook live as promised April 8, this time claiming he was going to shoot himself, rather than inject himself with the syringe. About 40 minutes into the live broadcast, the feed cut out.
Some viewers believe Stark’s suicide threats were a ruse used for publicity and to add controversy to Tiger King 2, which he is reportedly participating in.
Justin Hicks, who helps run the Wynnewood Zoo: information sharing Facebook page, compared Stark to Tiger King player Jeff Lowe who recently suffered a stroke, which some also suspect may be a ruse for publicity.
“It’s no secret I believe Stark to be like Lowe...all smoke and mirrors, always blaming others for his own doing,” Hicks said.
Sources say a large police presence was on site at Stark’s property last night, and Stark was taken into custody and transported to the emergency room for psychiatric evaluation.
“Whether Tim Stark survives, goes out in a blaze of glory, or with a milk-filled syringe and a plastic grenade matters not to me,” Hicks said. “He’ll always have the same small footnote in the annals of the fight against animal abuse. Just like all the other animal abusers when they leave this world, he’ll go out feet first.”