Tim Stark Wildlife auctioned at Want Actual Property in Southern Indiana
Heil’s Auction Service, based in Henryville, handled the event for Stark on his estate and the since-closed wildlife store near Jack Teeple Road in Charlestown.
Interest in the auction was evident in the dozen of cars parked in a field near Jack Teeple Road and then along the dirt road that winds back to the rest of the more than seven-acre property.
Among the visitors young and old, Stark himself, wearing a hat, blue jeans and a polo shirt, ran and accepted enthusiastic bidding at the auction on Saturday.
“I’m ready for a new life anyway,” he joked to a man who shook his hand and commented that his Wildlife in Need project, which had existed for over two decades, no longer existed.
Saturday’s auction began at 9 a.m. and continued well into the afternoon, with over seven acres of land, multiple buildings, and a four-bedroom frame house up for auction, according to Heil’s auction service.
In addition to land and buildings, there was also plenty of personal property for sale, including a Polar King walk-in freezer and refrigerator, trucks, trailers, and ATVs.
“So many options for this beautiful property on the outskirts of Charlestown!” said the auction page on the company’s website. “Perfect for an animal rescue or pension and care facility!”
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Commercial restaurant equipment, decorative gates for driveways, pressure washers, concrete blocks, chainsaws and other tools were also on the program.
Finally, various large and small animal cages were available, as well as dog houses, animal transporters, rubber four-animal ramps, water troughs and “much more”, according to the auction site.
“Thirty, thirty, thirty, thirty-five. I’ve got thirty-five,” a microphoneed auctioneer repeated vigorously during a bid to the crowd.
A bid on a drill started at $ 100 before quickly rising to $ 350, with bidders increasing their number cards to get the auctioneer’s attention if they were to move on.
Great interest in the tender helped drive prices higher and higher. A metal shelf was $ 25 while a similar-looking shelf next to it was $ 90.
Signs of Wildlife in Need were still on parts of Stark’s property, along with a sign indicating the man’s personality.
“Beware: I have no time for stupid people,” it said.
On the way to and from the auction, visitors passed the large enclosures that once housed animals but are now overgrown with weeds.
Stark was ordered by a federal judge last month to pay over $ 700,000 to people for the ethical treatment of animals as a result of the group’s successful lawsuit alleging that Stark abused his tigers, lions, big cats and other animals .
As part of PETA’s successful lawsuit, 25 big cats owned by Stark and his former business partner Jeff Lowe – both of whom starred in the Netflix hit “Tiger King” – were transferred to accredited sanctuaries.
The office of then-Attorney General of Indiana Curtis Hill also sued Stark and its Charlestown attraction in February 2020 on charges of animal abuse and neglect and attempted to move all animals on the property to sanctuaries.
In April, a Marion County judge ruled in favor of the Attorney General and permanently banned Stark from acquiring, displaying, and owning exotic and native animals and ordered Stark to return monies embezzled from his business for his personal use.
Stark attempted unsuccessfully to appeal some of the legal decisions, and he also faces ongoing cases related to a dispute allegedly physical during a 2020 inspection of Wildlife in Need with the Assistant Attorney General and another in which the prosecutor tried to do so by taking away his firearms.
Stark founded Wildlife in Need in 1999 at his Charlestown home on Jack Teeple Road.
For over 20 years, Stark and his volunteers have handled hundreds of exotic animals and displayed them to the public for $ 25 or more.
It was a lucrative, not-for-profit business, with sales exceeding $ 1 million in 2017 and over $ 1.2 million in 2016, despite Stark claiming it had no income.
“Tiger Baby Playtime” helped him increase the number of his animals from about 43 in 2016 to 293 creatures recently, according to court documents.
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Well-founded allegations against Stark that have been exposed in various legal proceedings include abuse and threats against government officials, shabby records, forged documents and inadequate care for sick and dying animals.
Stark had intended to transfer all of Wildlife in Need’s assets to a new venture in Oklahoma of “Tiger King” fame, Jeff Lowe, by bringing equipment and animals from southern Indiana to Sooner State, according to court records.
But court documents said Stark never consulted with or briefed the board of directors at Wildlife in Need about the Oklahoma plans, and 15 to 20 animals died during one of Stark’s trips.
When he suffered one setback after another in court and his animals were taken away by state and federal officials, Stark denied the wrongdoing, claiming he was the victim and telling a Courier Journal reporter he was “ready to die” last year, to protect its wildlife and business – “my family” and “my livelihood”.
You can reach Billy Kobin at [email protected]