Today a judge ordered Jeff and Lauren Lowe be fined $1,000 per day until they get in compliance with a previous court order in the case brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ) against Tiger King Park.
The previous court order required Jeff and Lauren to immediately stop exhibiting animals, retain a qualified veterinarian for the animals, provide acquisition and disposition records for the animals and not acquire or dispose of any animal protected by the Endangered Species Act or Animal Welfare Act without first conferring with the DOJ and obtaining leave of court.
Lawyers for the DOJ said Jeff and Lauren have failed to provide acquisition and disposition records for several animals including three newborn lemurs, which defies the previous court order.
Jeff and Lauren's lawyer Daniel Card blamed the missing documentation on the roadside zoo's veterinarian. Jeff and Lauren argued the missing animals never existed or were the result of a "name change."
"There are no missing animals," Jeff said.
Jeff and Lauren also failed to follow court orders regarding the medical treatment of an aging fox that has cancer. The veterinarian felt strongly that the fox should be humanely euthanized and lawyers for the DOJ agreed with that recommendation and urged that the fox be humanely euthanized by a qualified veterinarian promptly.
The DOJ said Jeff and Lauren were trying to rehome two cougars that are underweight and "emaciated," and the DOJ asked the court to issue an order for the two cougars to be moved to Center for Animal Rescue and Education (CARE) in Texas.
The veterinarian for Tiger King Park has not been paid and the vet has had to send "notice" to Jeff and Lauren and lawyers for the DOJ said they are concerned Tiger King Park will have no veterinarian, which also violates the court order.
Lauren told the judge the animals are well taken care of.
"They are healthy," she said. "They are our children and we love them dearly."
Jeff said the USDA and DOJ are going after them because of the Netflix documentary Tiger King, which was released in 2020. He said the "animal rights nuts" are abusing his family and sending them death threats. He said the only way they can defend themselves is to post pictures of the animals and they aren't allowed to do that.
The pair is also accused of allowing members of the press on the property to get footage of the caged animals last week, after some of the animals were removed while a search and seizure warrant was executed.
Allowing members of the press to get footage of the animals is a direct violation of the previous court order which bans Jeff and Lauren from exhibiting the animals.
"To be criticized and lied about is not fair and it hurts even more that we can't show and tell our own story to anyone else and that takes away our rights," Lauren told the judge.
Card said Jeff and Lauren want out of Tiger King Park completely and they should be given three weeks to "solve the case" and move the animals to sanctuaries of their choice.
"The order was very clear," Judge John Heil III said to Jeff and Lauren. "It is an order. It required you to do certain things and it required you to not do certain things."
The judge ordered that Jeff and Lauren have until June 11 to get in compliance with the previous court order and until they get in compliance they will be fined $1,000 per day. If they are not in compliance by June 11, the judge said he will impose additional sanctions.