Jeffrey Lowe, the person who took over the animal park on the middle of the favored Netflix documentary “Tiger King,” was accused on Thursday of violating the Endangered Species Act and Animal Welfare Act, prosecutors stated.
On Thursday, the Department of Justice introduced that it had filed a 110-page civil complaint towards Mr. Lowe and his spouse, Lauren Lowe, and the park, the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Okla.
The grievance accuses the couple of violating the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act by exhibiting animals with out a license and jeopardizing the well being of their animals. The grievance requested the courtroom to require the couple to relinquish some of their animals to the federal government.
Mr. Lowe’s lawyer, James M. Wirth, stated in a press release that the couple had been “consistently caring and kind stewards of animals in their care,” and that the federal government had constructed a “fictional interpretation” of the Animal Welfare Act.
“The government claims that because Mr. and Mrs. Lowe allowed a documentary crew onto their property, they were unlawfully exhibiting wildlife,” he stated. “By the government’s contrived standard, anyone who takes a selfie of an endangered species in a zoo is an unlawful exhibitor in violation of federal law.”
Mr. Lowe is the most recent determine from the documentary, about feuding exotic-animal house owners and animal-rights activists, to face accusations of wrongdoing by the federal government. The earlier proprietor of the park, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was convicted final yr of making an attempt to rent a success man to kill an animal-rights activist who criticized him.
Another park proprietor featured within the documentary, Bhagavan Antle, who is named Doc, was charged in October with two felony counts associated to wildlife trafficking and 13 further misdemeanors.
Until August, Mr. Lowe and his spouse operated the Oklahoma animal park that was owned by Mr. Maldonado-Passage, who is healthier referred to as Joe Exotic.
The 16.4-acre facility had a number of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act, together with tigers, lions, a grizzly bear and ring-tailed lemurs, the grievance stated.
In June, after a seven-year authorized battle, a decide gave the park to Carole Baskin, the animal-rights activist who sparred with unique tiger keepers within the documentary. Ms. Baskin’s husband, Howard Baskin, stated in a press release Friday that they hope that the Justice Department is profitable in eradicating the animals.
“The numerous very serious citations by U.S.D.A., in our opinion, clearly demonstrate that the Lowes should not be allowed to have animals,” he stated, referring to the assertions by Department of Agriculture investigators.
In June and July, inspectors from the usD.A.’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service stated they discovered some of the animals “in poor health and living in substandard conditions at the Wynnewood facility,” a violation of the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act.
In the grievance the Lowes had been additionally accused of not offering “timely and adequate veterinary care,” inflicting some of the animals to “suffer from easily treatable conditions.” Some of these instances resulted in “untimely” dying, the grievance stated.
The inspectors discovered that the animals had not been supplied with a ample quantity of meals, and that they had been underweight and affected by dietary deficiencies.
Inspectors additionally stated they discovered huge cat carcasses that had been partly burned and decomposing, and a damaged fridge truck with rotting meat, the grievance stated.
“The Lowes’ failure to provide basic veterinary care, appropriate food and safe living conditions for the animals does not meet standards required by both the Animal Welfare Act and the Endangered Species Act,” stated Jonathan D. Brightbill, the principal deputy assistant lawyer normal of the Environment and Natural Resources Division.
The grievance additionally accused the Lowes of routinely separating huge cat cubs from their moms for “playtime” occasions with park visitors, probably bringing “long-lasting harm” to the cubs.
In one instance, inspectors stated they noticed a torpid and skinny lion cub that had discharge popping out of her nostril and eyes, and sores on her ears. They stated the cub, named Nala, was later discovered to be affected by an higher respiratory an infection, dehydration, malnutrition and a urinary tract an infection.
Nala was transferred to a wildlife sanctuary in Colorado in September, the grievance stated.
In August, the usD.A. suspended Mr. Lowe’s Animal Welfare Act exhibitor license and tried to completely revoke his license.
Days later, Mr. Lowe voluntarily terminated his personal license, courtroom paperwork stated. The Lowes later moved their animals to a 33-acre property in Thackerville, Okla. They have stated that their new facility there could be named the Tiger King Park and would function as a movie set for tv exhibits. The Lowes should not have a license to exhibit animals, in response to the grievance.