Federal authorities seized 68 big cats from an animal park featured in Netflix’s “Tiger King” in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday that the seizure of protected lions, tigers, lion-tiger hybrids, and a jaguar occurred as part of a court-approved agreement over a November complaint against Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe over mistreatment of the animals.
“This seizure should send a clear message that the Justice Department takes alleged harm to captive-bred animals protected under the Endangered Species Act very seriously,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jean E. Williams of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
The DOJ previously ordered the pair to “immediately surrender all Big Cat cubs under the age of one year and their mothers to the government.”
Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe took ownership of the park after Joseph Maldonado-Passage, known as Joe Exotic, was sentenced to 22 years in prison. (RELATED: Zoo Featured In ‘Tiger King’ Searched By Police After Human Remains Believed To Be On Property)
NEW: The DOJ has seized 68 endangered big cats from Tiger King Park, owned by Jeff Lowe of Tiger King fame. The DOJ alleges significant lack of proper care of the animals.
My deep dive into Jeff Lowe’s shenanigans and history of exploitation, from Oct: https://t.co/bZcVgGQWO0
— Natasha Daly (@natashaldaly) May 20, 2021
A judge found the couple failed to comply with court orders to hire a veterinarian to properly care for the animals. The couple’s attorney, Daniel Card, told a federal judge that the two “want out completely,” according to the Associated Press.
“They don’t want to fight this anymore. They don’t want to do it,” Card said.
“Together, we will ensure these animals receive proper care and rehabilitation,” Assistant Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement, Edward Grace, stated, according to the press release.