Wildlife In Need under federal scrutiny following barn fire that killed 41 animals

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CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (AP) — A spokeswoman for a federal agency that’s been pressing for a southern Indiana wildlife facility’s license to be revoked says officials will look into a barn fire that the facility’s owner said killed 41 animals.

U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa tells the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., that the agency wants to know if Wildlife in Need had violated any federal rules and if it may have contributed to the fire Tuesday.

Facility owner Tim Stark has said the animals killed in the fire were mostly birds and reptiles. He said the facility’s tigers and other large cats were safe.

USDA inspections of the facility last year found abuse of animals and unsafe conditions for visitors. Stark has denied any wrongdoing.

Charlestown Assistant Fire Chief Andre Heal said Tuesday the fire’s cause wasn’t known.

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