In anticipation of a show cause hearing scheduled for Wednesday, the United States filed a notice in the Eastern District of Oklahoma on Tuesday claiming that Tiger King LLC, an exotic animal park made famous through a Netflix series, has continued to not comply with the court’s orders.
The court ruled in March that the defendants, including Tiger King LLC, Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park LLC, Jeffrey Lowe, and Lauren Lowe, had violated the court’s January 15 order which required them to take steps to come into compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The defendants, under the order, were required to hire a veterinarian, maintain a correct inventory, submit veterinarian records regarding births and deaths, give young cats and mothers to the government, allow inspections, and obtain a license before exhibiting animals.
The United States alleged in its notice this week that the defendants continued to “ignore, defy, and violate” this order as well as the March 22 order on the United States’ motion to enforce, and the March 26 order allowing the defendants until April 2 to comply. They claimed that the defendants “continue to knowingly and willfully violate those orders, even with a looming Show Cause Hearing.”
The plaintiff claimed that on May 6 the defendants let journalists onto the property of the park in order to film animals, citing an article and news report by News 12. Reportedly, members of the press are considered public under the Animal Welfare Act, and the defendants do not yet have a license to exhibit the animals.
Additionally, the notice alleged that the defendants did not contact their veterinarian or submit records to the government regarding the death of one of its red foxes. The veterinarian, Dr. Fryer, alerted the United States Department of Agriculture to the death after visiting the defendant’s facility, but was not told about the death prior to the visit. Allegedly the United States needs the information to track animals and their care.
The United States further purported that the defendants are continuing to breed animals, but are not providing birth records to the government, citing new lemur pups, and have not euthanized a red fox with prostatic cancer as was recommended by the veterinarian.
In Wednesday’s hearing, Judge John F. Heil, III will make a ruling on these allegations after the defendants explain why they have not complied with the orders.