Share story

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (AP) — A judge has granted an injunction against owners of an Indiana wildlife center that prevents them from using tiger cubs for public encounters.

The injunction filed Monday temporarily bans Wildlife in Need owners Tim and Melisa Stark from hosting events where visitors can interact with tiger cubs and have their picture taken, the News and Tribune reported.

The ruling also bans the Starks from declawing its big cats and orders them to stop separating cubs from their mothers unless medically necessary.

Tim Stark said he plans to contest the ruling.

The ruling follows a lawsuit filed last year by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA. It alleges the operators have repeatedly violated federal law that protects endangered species.

“The court has done the right thing in stopping Wildlife in Need from tearing cubs away from their mothers for use as public playthings and amputating their toes, which can leave them with lifelong lameness, pain, and psychological distress,” PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet said in a press release. “PETA looks forward to seeing the Starks permanently forbidden from mutilating, exploiting, and profiting off baby animals.”

Court records show that the Starks had “about a dozen cubs” declawed in 2016 and said that he declaws tigers “because it makes them easier to handle.”

PETA also submitted evidence to show that two cubs declawed last year died from complications.

However, Tim Stark denied the allegations, saying the cubs died because of medications from an unrelated issue.


Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind.,