Public outrage at treatment of bear cub video leads to investigation of Indiana refuge

After a disturbing video was posted to social media this week of a baby bear cub appearing frightened, struggling and distressed, the United States Department of Agriculture announced an investigation into the Wildlife in Need facility located in southern Indiana. The advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed the complaint against the sanctuary’s owner, Tim Stark.

According to Indiana Public Media, Stark is alleged in a formal complaint filed by PETA  of mishandling, taunting and provoking the 14-week-old bear cub for the “public’s apparent amusement.”

“The cub screamed in terror throughout the presentation,” Brittany Peet, Esq. stated in the letter addressed to the USDA/APHIS/AC. “At one point, he dangled her by the mouth from his hand. Lifting the cub by her mouth in this manner poses a grave risk of danger to her developing teeth and to the muscles in her skull and neck…”

The complaint continued with additional observations and concerns:

“Stark eventually pried the cub’s mouth off his hand and held her toward the audience. The cub screamed in terror and urinated on him, likely from the distress. Her ears were back, indicating fear and distress, and her eyes were rolled back to the whites, which is a well-known sign of distress in all mammals…”

USDA representative Pamela Manns stated PETA’s complaint will be included in the investigation. This isn’t the first time Stark, however has been cited for multiple non-compliance violation. In the past he has refused to allow inspectors onto his property.  In September 2015, Stark was cited with several violations including using riding crops on tiger cubs. He never denied using the crops, but stated he did not harm the tigers and only used them as an “extension of our arm.” During the investigation, Stark was ordered to “cease the use of physical abuse to handle animals” even though he still claims to use the riding crops on cubs.

In response to the adverse publicity and allegations of animal abuse and cruelty, Stark posted on the organization’s Facebook page blaming the adverse criticism  on “mob mentality” and an extremist group editing ten seconds of natural bear behavior. According to their website, Stark describes his organization as “dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of native species as well as the provision of safe harbor to an array of Ambassadors from exotic and endangered species.”

Decide for yourself. Video below has not changed or edited Stark’s interaction with the baby bear during one of his shows:

Photos and YouTube video via Facebook and PETA video)

Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.

 

 

18 replies
  1. Nancy Raymond says:

    Tim Stark does NOT run anything near a sanctuary – he is doing this for the almighty dollar and forget investigation by the USDA – they are useless – some agency needs to secretly film this bastard and send to the media in Indiana – this poor bear cub is being mistreated, mishandled and abused by this skank.

    Reply
  2. jeanette says:

    I’d rather hold him by his balls, upside down. don’t care if I offend anyone. that poor bear cub was terrified! put him out of business.

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  3. Amelia DeLucia says:

    These are not people! These are demons who continuously get away will abusing animals because they are too cowardly to take their aggressions out on people!!! And the so called people watching couldn’t tell this poor baby cub was in distress and being abused? What is wrong with you people? This demon needs to be out of business and away from any animals! He’s nothing but a piece of crap!!!!!

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  4. H Simpell says:

    Stark seems to show a “sideshow feel” to his presentation of this obviously terrorized bear cub.What an absolute disgrace.It is too bad that an organization like PETA has attached itself to this complaint.Their own credibility is a joke when it comes to animal welfare.

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  5. Cynthia Como says:

    So glad to know that I was not the only one sickened and alarmed about this! But I have HUGE concerns over the fact that the USDA is involved in the investigation!! This arm of our federal government is untrustworthy,lazy and liars! And it’s a enormous failure to ALL ANIMALS! Government needs to completely revamp this department because they do nothing but protect the millions of abusers that exist in our country,they get paid for NOT doing the job required of them and until they make MAJOR changes in this department they need to not exist and continue waste our tax dollars on their lying,lazy,ridiculous ineffective job performance! If I had my way I’d remove every single jerk in this department and start over again with people who actually give a damn about animals and are willing to do what they are being paid to do……be advocates and the voice for the millions upon millions of mistreated animals!!! I LOATHE THE USDA!!! Maybe in this case they will actually do their job and just shut this unnecessary,despicable, cruel place down! NOBODY WILL MISS THIS PLACE AND THEIR EXISTANCE WILL SOON BE FORGOTTEN BY ALL!!

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  6. Debbie Dearmore says:

    Why isn’t somebody stopping this maggot. I thought pets was suppose to protect these babies. Why then is this happening. And the people who are watching this are frigging sickos to. Please someone help those babies out of that place.

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  7. Janet Maves -McClay says:

    What I want to do to him is unprintable! I like Janette’s comments and Kristin Gray as well! HELP THESE POOR BABIES FROM THIS IMBECILE!!

    Reply
  8. Rebecca Soubra says:

    This is so inhumane to treat a baby bear like this, this person should not be allowed to handle any animals!

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  9. Dawn Hubbard says:

    Totally agree with al the comments! Prosecute him! Put him away AND out of business! Just the look on his face like “this is fun” makes me want to vomit! The animal is tortured by holding him by the mouth. It had to have been screamingly painful. Please prosecute….”mob my blankety-blank”, you monster!

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  10. Roselyne CORNETTE says:

    Ce bâtard ne doit plus jamais approcher un animal de ça vie, il ne mérite pas de respirer le même air que cette pauvre âme innocente. Se n’est qu’un parasite, un barbare.

    Reply
  11. Barkley's Mom says:

    Judging from what is seen in this video, Stark and his organization need to be shut down. If treating this poor bear cub is his idea of entertainment, then the sadistic POS should NOT be around animals period. He and his organization certainly needs to be investigated, but I highly question whether our USDA, who has shown very little concern for wildlife in general, is the organization to do this!

    Reply

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