The Department of Justice will seize the remaining animals at the “Tiger King” zoo.
KXII in Oklahoma reports that “Tiger King” star Jeff Lowe and his wife Lauren agreed to turn over the 61 remaining animals to the DOJ.
According to the local report, the federal agency filed a notice on Friday confirming that the couple “abandoned their right, title, and interest in the animals remaining at the Tiger King Park.” The Lowes signed off on it on Monday.
The agency has until Friday, August 20 to pick all of the animals up.
Back in May, authorities raided the Thackerville, Oklahoma zoo and seized animals. At the time, the DOJ confirmed that 68 protected lions, tigers, lion-tiger hybrids, and a jaguar were taken from the Tiger King Park after obtaining a warrant for “ongoing Endangered Species Act (ESA) violations.”
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has conducted three inspections of Tiger King Park since mid-December 2020. During these inspections, the Lowes received citations for failing to provide the animals with adequate or timely veterinary care, appropriate nutrition, and shelter that protects them from inclement weather and is of sufficient size to allow them to engage in normal behavior,” the press release from the DOJ reads. “The Lowes were recently found in contempt after months of noncompliance with court orders requiring the Lowes, in part, to employ a qualified veterinarian and establish and maintain a program of veterinary care that meets the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act.”
Lowe confirmed the news of the raid to TMZ, noting that 40-50 federal agents swarmed his zoo at 7 a.m. with a search warrant and reportedly told him to stay inside his house or he’d be arrested. Lowe told the outlet that he estimated roughly 70 animals were seized and that they were particularly interested in finding tiger cubs, which he said he did not have.
That was the second time in May that Lowe has been raided for exotic animals.
Lowe was one of many tiger enthusiasts who rose to fame after the Netflix docuseries went viral in early 2020. He assumed ownership of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma after Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic. In 2020, a judge granted ownership to Exotic’s rival Carole Baskin.
Maldonado-Passage is two years into a 22-year prison sentence stemming from a failed murder-for-hire plot against the big cat rescue sanctuary owner.
Remaining animals at ‘Tiger King’ zoo to be turned over to Justice Department