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Wildlife in Need owner will keep animals, USDA says

The USDA ruled Tim Stark willingly violated the Animal Welfare Act on multiple occasions and revoked his license last week.

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. — Hundreds of animals are still living on Wildlife in Need owner Tim Stark's property and the USDA says that's where they'll remain. The government agency responded to the FOCUS investigative team on Monday, after multiple requests asking the agency to answer your questions.

More than 100-thousand- people have seen our investigation and many people have questions about what happens to the animals now.

Tim Stark has threatened to kill the animals before anyone could take them from the property. 

The WHAS11 News FOCUS team shared this threat with the USDA and asked how the agency, which revoked his license last week, plans to protect the animals.

RELATED: 'These animals are going to continue to die': Former staff expose abuse at Indiana wildlife refuge

The agency sent this statement to WHAS11:

In regards to the animals, the Decision and Order issued by OALJ does not impact the ownership of Mr. Stark’s animals. However, if he wishes to place his animals in new facilities or homes, APHIS can assist Mr. Stark in finding appropriate facilities. Also, while the case is under appeal, he can continue to conduct covered activities.”

This means, Stark's animals will stay at his property under his care and his shows will go on for the foreseeable future.

When we asked the USDA about oversight at the property, the government agency refused to answer that question, and any future questions. We know the agency has not been the facility in almost three years. 

The FOCUS team also reached out to other agencies, and learned Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said he has received a lot of calls about our investigation and he is looking at all of his options on how to move forward.

Full statement from the USDA:

Following an APHIS administrative enforcement against Timothy L. Stark, (Wildlife in Need), USDA’s Office of Administrative Law Judge (OALJ) filed a decision and order to revoke Mr. Stark’s USDA license, cease and desist further violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), and levied a monetary fine against Mr. Stark and WIN.

APHIS takes the welfare of animals very seriously. Our investigative process of an individual and/or business found to not be in compliance with the AWA may lead to an enforcement action.If deficiencies remain uncorrected at subsequent inspections, APHIS considers legal action. Also, repeat noncompliances and serious incidents may warrant enforcement actions such as letters of warning, monetary penalties, license suspensions and revocations.

Following OALJ’s decision, Mr. Stark has the opportunity to appeal the decision. OALJ’s decision can be found here.

Wildlife in Need’s inspection reports can be found here.

In regards to the animals, the Decision and Order issued by OALJ does not impact the ownership of Mr. Stark’s animals. However, if he wishes to place his animals in new facilities or homes, APHIS can assist Mr. Stark in finding appropriate facilities. Also, while the case is under appeal, he can continue to conduct covered activities.

These animals are going to continue to die': Former staff expose abuse at Indiana wildlife refuge