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USDA continues fight against Indiana wildlife refuge

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is appealing a federal judge’s decision that allowed a southern Indiana man to keep a license that enables him to own and exhibit animals at a nonprofit refuge.

The Courier-Journal reports that the USDA is asking the judge to reverse a decision that allowed Tim Stark of Wildlife in Need to keep his Animal Welfare Act license or to issue a new decision. Stark and his attorney filed a response to the appeal in late February.

The USDA claims Stark’s license should be revoked because he pleaded guilty to violating the Endangered Species Act in 2008.

But the judge agreed with the defense’s argument that the USDA renewed Stark’s license several times after the violation.

In its appeal, the USDA says it was essentially forced to renew the license.