A judge ruled today that Jeff and Lauren Lowe, owners of the now-defunct Tiger King Park, are permanently prohibited from exhibiting animals to the public in the United States.
The ruling is part of the resolution of a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) civil complaint over the animal care at their roadside zoo.
The Lowes were made famous in the 2020 Netflix series Tiger King. They previously operated the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, OK, before renaming their roadside zoo Tiger King Park and moving it to Thackerville, OK.
The Lowe's USDA license was suspended in August 2020 and they were ordered to stop exhibiting animals in the public.
In November 2020, the DOJ filed a lawsuit against Tiger King Park, alleging inhumane treatment and improper handling of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The DOJ presented evidence that the animals in the Lowe's care had inadequate food, shelter, and veterinary care, in violation of the Animal Welfare Act.
In May 2021, authorities removed all of the ESA protected big cats from Tiger King Park and temporarily placed them at accredited sanctuaries. In August, the Lowe’s USDA license was revoked and they agreed to surrender the rest of their animals to the DOJ.
Today Judge John Heil III awarded default judgment in the case to the DOJ. Heil declared that Jeff and Lauren have violated the Endangered Species Act. They are permanently prohibited from possessing illegally taken ESA-protected animals and they are permanently enjoined from exhibiting animals to the public. All of their animals that were seized were awarded to the DOJ for permanent placement at accredited sanctuaries.
The ruling means that Jeff and Lauren Lowe will never be able to operate a roadside zoo in the U.S. again.
Full court documents: