If you thought Season 1 of Netflix docuseries Tiger King was action-packed, wait until you see Season 2. In the series' sophomore installment, Joe Exotic works to try to appeal his prison conviction, Don Lewis’s alleged death is further investigated, and viewers are introduced to a few new faces like Tim Stark.
We learn that Stark, an animal breeder and owner of the non-profit Wildlife in Need, attempted to open a zoo with Jeff Lowe after Joe was sent to prison. How’d that go? It horrendously flopped. Lowe barely contributed to the project and exhausted Stark and all of his resources. But Stark is by no means the good guy in this situation. After Season 2 of Tiger King wrapped, the truth behind Stark’s wrongdoings unraveled. Keep reading to see where Tim Stark is today.
'Tiger King’s' Tim Stark's federal license was revoked and he and his wildlife facility were fined.
Season 2 of Tiger King briefly shed a light on Tim Stark’s non-profit Wildlife in Need, which was founded in 1999 in Charlestown, Ind., with the mission of rescuing and rehabilitating indigenous wildlife. However, Wildlife in Need ended up hurting far more animals than it saved. Carly Brigaman, a former volunteer at the facility, told WHAS11 that the zoo "is not what it claims to be ... animals that go there, they suffer a very terrible life."
Workers claimed that Wildlife in Need's animals were often parched, starved, and kept in inadequate cages. They also noted that the facility was understaffed and that Stark would mistreat sick animals. On top of that, he did not keep any paperwork relating to the animals he brought in and supposedly helped release. His workers alleged that this was because the majority of the animals were killed or died and never got the chance to be set free.
In February 2020, a USDA administrative judge ruled that Stark had "willfully violated” the Animal Welfare Act over 120 times between January 2012 and January 2016. Wildlife in Need’s federal license was revoked, and the facility was fined $300,000. Stark was also fined $40,000 in civil penalties. He tried to appeal the ruling, but it was upheld by a USDA judicial officer in April 2020. His attorney, Clay Culotta, told WHAS11 at the time that he planned to appeal once again.
However, he missed the June 8, 2020 deadline to file the paperwork. Meanwhile, Stark's crimes only continued to catch up to him. In August 2020, PETA won a lawsuit against him and his ex-wife after it was revealed that Wildlife in Need had prematurely separated big cat cubs from their mothers and used declawing procedures that caused the cubs to suffer.
Stark was permanently barred from owning big cats and ordered to pay $734,000 to PETA (the number was later upped to $750,000 to incorporate PETA’s legal fees). Twenty-five of his big cats were transferred to accredited sanctuaries, as well.
Tim Stark’s Wildlife in Need was dissolved in November 2020.
In September 2020, two warrants were out for Stark’s arrest in Clarks County, Ind. due to charges of battery and intimidation of a prosecutor, according to WDRB. He attempted to escape, but was caught in Granville, N.Y. the following month with a fake grenade on him. He plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of intimidation and served a jail sentence of 10 days.
At that point, the board of directors for Wildlife in Need voted to dissolve the nonprofit and filed the paperwork in November 2020.
Tim Stark is permanently forbidden from ever owning or exhibiting exotic or native animals.
The plot continues to thicken. In April 2021, an Indiana judge discovered that Stark had previously used funds from Wildlife in Need for his own personal use, per WHAS11. Stark was officially and permanently forbidden from ever owning or exhibiting exotic or native animals. Any animals remaining in his custody were transferred to the Indianapolis Zoo.
Tim Stark declares bankruptcy.
After losing his animals, Stark posted a Facebook Live video in which he said he couldn’t "think right mentally anymore" while waving a gun. Because of that, he was temporarily taken into custody, and his license to carry handguns was also suspended. On Oct. 12, 2021, Stark was summoned to court to explain why he was auctioning off what was left of Wildlife in Need. He failed to show up.
Ten days later, he took to Facebook Live once again where he declared bankruptcy. A hearing regarding the collection of his assets is scheduled for Dec. 16, 2021.