Target: Kevin Shea, Administrator of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Goal: Suspend the license of sanctuary owner accused of animal abuse.
The USDA has made shocking allegations of animal abuse against Wildlife in Need (WIN), a non-profit wildlife sanctuary — and this isn’t the first time. Over the course of the last four years, WIN’s owner, Tim Stark, has accumulated over 100 allegations of violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Some of the more troubling allegations made against Stark include slapping animals in the face with a riding crop, interfering with the administration of proper veterinary care, and even “euthanizing” an ill leopard by beating it with a baseball bat. These allegations have been made based on multiple investigations, which have often ended in investigators being verbally abused and harassed by Stark.
In Stark’s most recent response to the USDA’s allegations, he has shown no remorse or regret. When asked about the leopard he killed with a baseball bat, he defended his choice, claiming that he doesn’t need a veterinarian to do euthanize animals for him. With that in mind, it’s disturbing to think of how many other animals may have possibly met the same fate as that poor leopard. A responsible and compassionate caretaker should know when to admit when a situation is beyond their control or capabilities, rather than taking matters of life and death into his or her own hands.
In light of Stark’s rash behavior and the numerous allegations made against him, it is important that the USDA motion to suspend or revoke his license rather than simply fining him. Stark should be forced to clean up his act and learn to handle his sanctuary with humility, integrity, and compassion.
Dear Mr. Shea,
I am sure you are no stranger to the horrendous accusations made against Tim Stark and Wildlife in Need. His alleged neglect and abuse of wildlife and verbal harassment of investigators and veterinarians is absolutely deplorable. That is why I must strongly urge APHIS and the USDA to do everything in their power to seek justice for the vulnerable animals in this man’s care.
I am aware that you previously filed a motion to revoke Stark’s license without success. I hope that this time around, the evidence gathered by USDA’s investigators will be strong enough to bring him down. The safety and well-being of these animals depends on Stark’s being forced to clean up his act. That is why I am asking you and your department to push for the harshest penalties possible, rather than simply settling for a few fines. Stark’s behavior is unacceptable and it cannot be allowed to continue without consequence.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Adrian Radic