The owner of the famed “Tiger King” zoo is facing Department of Justice charges of violating the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act, the New York Post reported.
Exotic animal zoo owners Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe of Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma are alleged to have left exotic animals in poor health and hygiene at the park, including leaving “decomposing big cat carcasses” on the premises, according to the DOJ lawsuit.
Jeff Lowe took control of the zoo from “Tiger King” star Joe Exotic, aka Joe Maldonado-Passage, who is serving more than two decades in prison after being convicted in a murder-for-hire plot against fellow exotic animal keeper Carole Baskin.
It was featured on Netflix series “Tiger King,” which brought an inspection from the USDA Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service this summer.
A lion cub named Nala, which is the name of Disney’s Lion King character, was found “lethargic, depressed, thin, and would not get up out of the mud even after prompting,” according to the DOJ complaint.
The cub was found to have an upper respiratory infection, dehydration and urinary tract infection, per the DOJ.
Also, per the complaint, they found a “foul-smelling, partially burned and decomposing big cat carcasses and a broken-down refrigerator truck containing rotting meat,” per the Post.
Lowe had moved some animals to a new property and hoped to film a new show, per the report.
The lawsuit seeks to block the new property and asks to declared the Lowes in violation of the Endangered Species Act by “illegally taking, possessing, and transporting protected animals.”
“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,” federal prosecutor Jonathan D. Brightbill told the Post in a statement.
“Exhibitors cannot evade the law simply by shutting out the USDA and moving their animals elsewhere. The Department of Justice will support the USDA in pursuing those who violate federal animal protection laws.”