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Judge Bans Indiana 'Tiger King' Star From Ever Owning More Animals

A photo of WIN owner Tim Stark.

Timothy Stark (WFIU/WTIU News File)

A Marion County judge ruled this week that the owner of a southern Indiana animal sanctuary who appeared on the Netflix series "Tiger King" can no longer legally own native or exotic animals.

Marion County Superior Court Judge David J. Dreyer's April 6 ruling prohibits Timothy Stark, the owner of the now-defunct nonprofit Wildlife In Need (WIN), from "acquiring, owning and exhibiting any exotic or native animals, including all mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians."

Dreyer also ruled that Stark is personally liable under the Nonprofit Corporations Act and must return all the money he misappropriated from WIN. Additionally, the placement of the nonprofit's animal population with the Indianapolis Zoological Society is permanent.

READ MORE: Judge Sides With AG Curtis Hill And Officially Dissolves Wildlife In Need

The ruling comes after a whirlwind year in which Stark was slapped with lawsuits from both former Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill and animal rights organization PETA. Hill's suit accused Stark of embezzling funds from WIN and mistreating animals and staff. The PETA lawsuit alleged that Stark's declawing of big cats and separating cubs from their mothers constituted abuse.

After losing the PETA suit, Stark fled to New York State in fall 2020. He was pursued and arrested after being held in contempt of court.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, the titular star of "Joe Exotic," posted a response to Dreyer's ruling to his Facebook page Thursday, suggesting that the ruling might cause Stark to harm himself.

"If Tim Stark hurts himself, President Biden should take this as a wake up call that the Department of Justice is responsible for pushing a man to that point that they will allow obstruction, perjury and our own Constitution to be used in the name of Justice," he wrote.

Maldonado-Passage is currently serving 22 years in federal prison after being convicted of 17 counts of animal abuse and two counts of attempted murder for hire in 2017.

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