Jeff Lowe, the former business partner of Joseph Maldonado-Passage -- better known a Joe Exotic -- and who currently owns Exotic's park, must surrender all his big cat cubs, a federal court ordered.
The Department of Justice on Tuesday said that a federal court has issued a preliminary injunction in favor of the United States against Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe, Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park LLC, and Tiger King LLC.
They issued this based on claimed violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act. They found that the Lowes failed to provide safe conditions, proper nutrition, and timely veterinary care. This resulted in harm to several animals and the death of two tiger cubs less than a week apart.
They also apparently found that their pattern and practice of providing substandard care and their failure to employ a qualified attending veterinarian placed the health of the animals in serious danger.
As a result, the Department of Justice said that Lowes must immediately surrender all big cat cubs under the age of one year and their mothers to the government for the pendency of the injunction.
The court reportedly also said that they must retain an attending veterinarian and provide records accounting for all animals acquired and disposed of since June 2020. In addition, they must stop exhibiting animals without a valid U.S. Department of Agriculture license.
"The Lowes have showed a shocking disregard for both the health and welfare of their animals, as well as the law," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jonathan D. Brightbill of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. "We are gratified the court agrees and ordered Mr. Lowe to stop ignoring his obligations under the Animal Welfare Act and the Endangered Species Act."
"This decision sends a clear message to both licensed and unlicensed exhibitors of the Animal Welfare Act’s reach," said USDA Acting General Counsel Tyler S. Clarkson. "USDA looks forward to continuing its close partnership with the Justice Department to litigate these cases and enforce the Animal Welfare Act."
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.