THACKERVILLE, Okla. (KFOR) – The star of a Netflix docu-series that took the world by storm in 2020 has been ordered to pay thousands of dollars to PETA following a lawsuit.
In 2020, the Justice Department filed a civil complaint, alleging ‘Tiger King’ star Jeff Lowe and his wife, Lauren, violated the Endangered Species Act and Animal Welfare Act.
The complaint accused them of “inhumane treatment” of their exotic animals.
After that complaint was filed, PETA filed a motion to intervene as a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit.
PETA claimed that Lowe violated multiple court orders by transporting four lion cubs at the center of the lawsuit to Lowe’s Wynnewood property. One of the cubs died before PETA could get to her.
Recently, the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Oklahoma ordered Lowe to pay $183,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs to PETA.
The court found that Lowe was liable for violations like failing to take adequate COVID-19 precautions, failing to hire a veterinarian with sufficient training, feeding lions only rancid meat.
It also ruled that the facility had a lack of adequate enclosures, which led to gruesome injuries to some of the animals.
The Lowes took over operations of the zoo, which was previously run by Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who is also known as Joe Exotic, and was featured in Netflix’s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”
The Lowes lost their license in August of 2020 after inspectors reported squalid conditions at the zoo.
In January of 2021, U.S. District Judge John F. Heil III issued an order that, among other things, required the couple to prevent breeding; to relinquish all of their lion and tiger cubs to the federal government; and not to exhibit any of their big cats.
Several months later, U.S. law enforcement agents, led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, seized almost 70 animals from the Thackerville park.
“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.