NEWS AND COMMENT: A fourth “Tiger King” has now been charged with animal cruelty. His name is Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, the owner of Myrtle Beach Safari featured in the Netflix docu-series. The previous three were Jo Exotic (the original Tiger King as featured on Netflix), Tim Stark, the founder of the self-proclaimed animal refuge Wildlife in Need in Indiana, and Keith Wilson, Owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal ParkA.
You may remember that Jo Exotic is serving a 22 year sentence for plotting to murder Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin.
Antle has been indicted (charged) with allegedly trafficking lion cubs between Virginia and South Carolina. Antle proclaimed himself to be a cat lover (don’t they always). He’s been charged with one felony count of wildlife trafficking, 13 misdemeanour charges and one felony count of conspiracy to wildlife traffic. He also been charged under the Endangered Species Act and for animal cruelty (nine misdemeanour counts). A fairly comprehensive list of accusations.
The point, though, of this post is to report that these self-proclaimed Tiger Kings who strutted their stuff around America as if they were the gods of conservation are criminals or alleged criminals who were engaged in animal cruelty. I guess this should not surprise a lot of people. Antle and Exotic gave themselves strange and exotic names in line with their personal profile. Antle legitimised his status with the prefix “Doc”. Sad really. They are all rather bizarre people.
In addition to Antle himself being charged, his daughters have also been named in the indictment. Tawny Antle has been charged with one misdemeanour count of cruelty to animals and another of violating the Endangered Species Act.
PETA Lawyer Brittany Peet summed it up nicely: “The dominoes are falling one by one – nearly every animal abuser featured in Tiger King is now in custody, out of business or facing administrative or criminal charges. After years of working to stop “Doc” Antle’s cruel tiger-petting sessions and chimpanzee video stunts, PETA is eager to see him face to courtroom – and the consequences”.
Sadly, along the way many tigers, lions and other animals were abused. They are the real losers. What is surprising is how they were allowed to run their businesses for so long.
Note A: Keith A. Wilson, the owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park, and his nephew Christian Dall’Acqua have both been indicted on 46 counts of animal cruelty by a grand jury in Frederick County. In August, Attorney General Herring’s Animal Law Unit secured custody of 119 animals that were seized from the “roadside zoo” after a judge issued an order finding that Wilson “cruelly treated, neglected, or deprived the animal[s] of adequate care”. – STL News.