Indiana ‘Tiger King’ Bill Would Prohibit Direct Public Contact with Big Cats and Bears

Indiana House Bill 1248 would prohibit an individual who owns a big cat, big cat hybrid, or bear from allowing a member of the public to have direct physical contact with the animal. The bill also would prohibit the ownership of big cats or bears without a U.S. Department of Agriculture license. The bill was introduced after an Indiana roadside zoo, Wildlife in Need, and its owner, Tim Stark, were charged with more than 120 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and assessed with more than $300,000 in penalties in connection with a big cat breeding and petting business they ran before being shut down by state and federal officials. Both were featured in the Netflix series “Tiger King.” The bill passed the House and has been referred to the Indiana Senate Committee on Natural Resources.