Federal agents have seized 68 lions, tigers, and other big cats from the Oklahoma couple who took over an animal park featured in the Netflix documentary series Tiger King. The park is owned by Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe, who appeared in the famous Tiger King documentary, which starred a big-cat collector and eccentrically named Joe Exotic. Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is currently serving a 22-year federal prison sentence after being convicted in a murder-for-hire scheme and federal wildlife violations.
The Lowes, meanwhile, was sued by the Justice Department in November for allegedly violating the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act. The couple is accused of exhibiting the animals at Tiger King Park without a license and failing to provide adequate care.
An affidavit says the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says inspectors found that the animals received a nutritionally deficient diet, inadequate and untimely veterinary care, and insufficient shelter from the weather. The impact of the poor diet could be seen in the animals, several of which appeared to be suffering from stunted growth, lameness, neurological abnormalities, and skin lesions.
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