The Eastern District of Oklahoma ruled after an Order to Show Cause hearing that Tiger King LLC, an exotic animals park featured in the Netflix series Tiger King was not compliant with the courts order, and ruled that it and related defendants would be fined $1,000 each day until they are able to come into compliance with the court orders.
The court ruled in its order, which was given on January 15, 2021, the defendants including Tiger King, its owners Jeffrey Lowe and Lauren Lowe, and Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park LLC, were required to take steps to come into compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Among other things, the defendants were required to hire a vet, not show animals without a license, and submit records of animal births and deaths.
The United States, plaintiff in the lawsuit, claimed in an Order to Show Cause and accompanying documents leading to the hearing that the defendants had ignored the order by allowing a new organization to film animals without the license to display them, and had not given birth and death records to the government.
The evening after the hearing, Lauren Lawe sent an email to the court, attaching the requested records and answering questions about their animals. The defendant asked the court to determine that they are now in compliance with the orders. The email explained gaps in records, including name changes for big cats which are still at the park and explanations of why animals were on some inventories and not on others, typically citing earlier disposition records.
The court had previously determined that the defendants had not complied with these orders, after the plaintiff filed a motion asking for it to be enforced. According to the minute entry filed after Wednesday’s hearing, if the defendants do not become compliant by June 11, the United States is invited by the court to file an additional notice of noncompliance which would lead to even more sanctions by the court.
The defendants are represented by Daniel Card Law and the plaintiffs by attorneys with the United States Department of Justice.