WYNNEWOOD, Okla. (KFOR) – A district court in Indiana has ordered one of the stars of a Netflix show to turn over veterinary records related to large cats in his custody.
Garvin County Sheriff Jim Mullett said his deputies and the USDA are working together after receiving a formal report about lions at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park that were allegedly not being treated properly.
The report included photos showing a lion with its ears covered in flies and another with the tips of its ears covered in blood.
PETA officials say the photos depict ‘flystrike,’ a condition where flies, usually drawn to uncleared animal waste, bit other animals and lay eggs on them. Then, the hatched maggots eat away at the skin.
“Enough is enough,” said Brittany Peet, PETA’s deputy general counsel for captive animals law enforcement. “It’s long overdue for authorities to step up, to close this place down and to confiscate the animals.”
Peet said the organization had two veterinarians examine the photos of the animals.
“They opined that this condition would be extremely painful and that if it isn’t immediately treated that these lions risk losing their ears,” she said.
“A veterinarian cannot examine an animal by a photograph,” said Jeff Lowe, calling PETA an animal rights terrorist group.
Lowe explained the infections come from flies, which have been a problem since the horse ranch across the street opened two years ago.
Lowe said the park has spent thousands on vet bills and fly mitigation, but that some fly sprays can be harmful to the cats.
“So you have to be really careful, and you have to decide if some ears being chewed on by flies is more important than keeping them alive,” Lowe said.
Recently, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has ordered Lowe to pay attorneys’ fees and turn over veterinary records and other documents related to the lions in the complaint.
In a statement, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said it recently completed an unannounced inspection at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park on June 22. “As is standard for all APHIS inspections, APHIS posts inspection reports online approximately 28 days after the inspection to allow the facility a chance to appeal the findings,” the statement read.
Sheriff Mullett said that at the USDA’s request, three animals have already been treated by veterinarians.
“A cub that had some ear problems, that looked like it had some bleeding in the ears, a bear that was presented to us that seemed to be a little skinny, didn’t seem like it was…maybe it was malnutrition,” said the sheriff.