LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP/KNWA/KFTA) — An Arkansas wildlife refuge will be rescuing eight big cats from an Indiana zoo after a court found that the facility mistreated its animals.
Scott Smith, co-owner of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge near Eureka Springs, says he and his staff left Thursday to retrieve the animals from Wildlife in Need and Wildlife in Deed, Inc. in Charlestown, Indiana.
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued the facility and its owners for violation of the Exotic Species Act of 1973. U.S. District Court Judge Richard L.
Young wrote in his Aug. 3 decision that not prescribing pain medications after declawing cats was “a gross failure” of medical care standards.
“Wildlife In Need profited from hands-on animal interaction activities for years only to lose their license at the beginning of 2020,” according to a release. “Owner and operator, Tim Stark, was sued by the USDA following 120 violations between 2012 and 2016. In 2017, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a lawsuit against Stark for, ‘”allowing big-cat cubs to interact with the public, separating mother cats and their infants, declawing, and possessing the tigers, lions, and tiger/lion hybrids (big cats) on Stark’s premises who were unlawfully taken in violation of the ESA (Endangered Species Act).”‘
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