CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (AP) — A judge has ruled that a southern Indiana wildlife facility can keep its exhibitor’s license despite the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s efforts to revoke it.
The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky, reports the administrative law judge found that the USDA failed to show that Wildlife in Need owner Tim Stark was unfit to hold an Animal Welfare Act exhibitor’s license.
The agency filed a motion in February 2015 to revoke Stark’s license, saying that he was unfit to exhibit animals because he pleaded guilty to violating the Endangered Species Act in 2008. The USDA has 35 days to appeal the judge’s decision.
A fire broke out at the Charlestown facility last week, and Stark has said 41 animals were killed. A USDA spokeswoman said the agency would look into the fire.