Department of Justice Taking Custody of Animals From Tiger King Park

A complex saga continues

Jeff Lowe with Faith the liliger
Jeff Lowe with Faith the liliger at his home inside the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park on September 28, 2016 in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.
Ruaridh Connellan/BarcroftImages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

In the early days of the pandemic, a host of viewers turned on Netflix and quickly became obsessed with a true crime series focusing on big cats, distinctive mullets and obsessive rivalries. Tiger King soon became a subject of national conversation. Fans of the series may have more to look forward to — whether in documentary or fictionalized form — but some of the real-life participants in the events depicted in the series have encountered additional bumps in the road in the last year.

The latest dispatch in this category comes via The Guardian, in an article that offers an update on some of the animals that resided in Joe Exotic’s Tiger King Park. Maya Yang reports that Jeff and Lauren Lowe have opted to turn over the animals still living in the park to the Department of Justice.

The Lowes’ decision to “[abandon] their right, title, and interest in the animals remaining at the Tiger King park” follows a number of legal conflicts. This isn’t the first time the Department of Justice has taken custody of animals from the park, either — The Guardian notes that this follows earlier actions in January and May.

In January, Acting Assistant Attorney General Jonathan D. Brightbill from the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division addressed the way the animals had been treated in the Lowes’ care. Acting Assistant Attorney General Brightbill hailed a District Court judge’s instructions for Jeff Lowe “to stop ignoring his obligations under the Animal Welfare Act and the Endangered Species Act.”

The Guardian notes that the latest action from the Department of Justice will find them taking dozens of animals into custody, among them “porcupines, bobcats, foxes, ferrets and a camel.” It’s the latest evolution of a situation that’s complicated life for humans and animals alike.

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