Netflix’s “Tiger King” star Jeff Lowe has been charged with recurring inhumane treatment and mishandling of endangered animal species, according to a civil complaint filed Thursday. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Federal District Court against Lowe, his wife Lauren Lowe, the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Wildlife Park he succeeded founder Joe Exotic in 2016 and Tiger King, LLC.
After closing the Wynnewood Zoo last August, the Lowes agreed to pay more than $100,000US in overdue state sales taxes on zoo sales. Next, the federal complaint alleges that they created an illegal, unlicensed wildlife park on a 33-acre parcel in Thackerville, Oklahoma called “Tiger King Park.”
The lawsuit accuses the Lowes of violating the endangered species law “by illegally taking, possessing and transporting protected animals,” according to a Justice Department statement Thursday. He also accuses them of breaking the animal welfare law “by exhibiting without a permit and endangering animal health”.
“The animals of the Lowes have suffered and continue to suffer from easily preventable or treatable ailments, which in some cases have caused the untimely death of animals,” the complaint states, alleging that the Lowes “then burned or disposed of d ‘another way carcasses, including tigers, in makeshift pyres. ”
The lawsuit seeks an injunction to ban all further public display of unlicensed animals, end any further violations of federal wildlife laws, and order the Lowes to turn over all animals covered by the Endangered Species Act to federal authorities of disappearance.
Lowe’s attorney, Daniel Card of Oklahoma City, declined to comment until he reviewed the complaint.
The federal investigation into the Wynnewood, Oklahoma Zoo, made famous in Netflix’s “Tiger King” series, began after an animal rights group accused him of negligence.
Joe Exotic, a pseudonym of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is serving a 22-year sentence in a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, for his conviction in January for participating in a murder-for-pay plot and violating federal privacy laws. wildlife.