‘Tiger King’s’ Jeff Lowe willing to give up big cats, lawyer says

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One of the tigers living at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park is pictured at the park in Wynnewood, Okla. in 2013. The operator of the zoo Jeff Lowe, who was featured on “Tiger King,” and his wife are willing to give up all their big cats to resolve a U.S. Justice Department civil complaint against them over animal care. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) — Netflix’s “Tiger King” star Jeff Lowe and his wife are willing to give up their big cats to resolve a Justice Department civil complaint against them over the animals’ care, their attorney told a federal judge.

At a hearing Wednesday where the judge found the couple in contempt for violating a previous order regarding the big cats, attorney Daniel Card said the Lowes “want out completely.”

Jeff Lowe took over the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park from founder Joe Exotic in 2016. Lowe and his wife displayed big cats there until shutting down the park in August. They then moved to a new facility in Thackerville.

The civil complaint, filed in November, accused the Lowes of recurring inhumane treatment and improper handling of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act. U.S. District Judge John F. Heil III in January 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.

The judge in March found that the Lowes had violated his order, and on Wednesday fined them $1,000 per day until they get in compliance, according to The Oklahoman.

“They don’t want to fight this anymore. They don’t want to do it,” Card told Heil. “They want to give the tigers to a … sanctuary of their choice and be done with it.”

Jeff Lowe was one of the central characters in the Netflix series that became a pop culture phenomenon last year. The series focused on Joe Exotic, a pseudonym for Joseph Maldonado-Passage. He is serving 22 years in federal prison for violating federal wildlife laws and for his role in a failed murder-for-hire plot targeting his chief rival, Carole Baskin, who runs a rescue sanctuary for big cats in Florida.

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