'Tiger King' star Jeff Lowe speaks out over USDA lawsuit: 'I can't wait to fight them'

‘Tiger King’ star Jeff Lowe speaks out over USDA lawsuit: ‘I can’t wait to fight them’

Jeff Lowe is hoping to set the record straight.Lowe, 53, is best known for appearing in Netflix’s hit docuseries “Tiger King,” in which, he obtains control of a private zoo full of exotic animals after Joe “Exotic” Maldonado-Passage — the zoo’s previous owner — was arrested in connection with a murder-for-hire plot.In the series, the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park is painted as somewhat poorly kept, unsanitary and even unsafe, prompting Lowe’s involvement to help clean up the physical and financial chaos that Maldonado-Passage had found himself in.Lowe eventually lost the land to Carole Baskin, a fellow big cat enthusiast, and now owns a large park in Oklahoma, where he houses his exotic animals.DOJ FILES ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT COMPLAINT AGAINST ‘TIGER KING’ STAR JEFF LOWENow, Lowe faces a lawsuit from the USDA, who has accused him of “recurring inhumane treatment and improper handling” of animals, per BBC.The businessman thinks that the allegations were made against him not because of the way he treats his animals, but because of the popularity of “Tiger King.”
Jeff Lowe assumed control of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park and has now moved most of the animals.
(Netflix)”The USDA is attacking us because of Netflix’s ‘Tiger King.’ It made them look like a bunch of buffoons,” he told Daily Mail. “You know, the Doc Antle’s, Joe Exotic and the Carole Baskins –  it looks like the USDA was supervising a freak show and not doing anything about this flagrant trafficking of tiger cubs.”The reality star said that before he appeared on the show, his USDA inspection record was “nothing but perfect,” but as soon as “Tiger King” became a hit, Lowe and his wife Lauren were “the first ones they inspect,””And I’m written up with a crock of lies. Most of them didn’t even have to do with me,” Lowe said of the allegations made against him. “They were Joe’s animals on Joe’s inventory that they’re writing me up for.”Per the outlet, the lawsuit claims that Lowe and Lauren have violated the Endangered Species Act and Animal Welfare Act, but Lowe doesn’t think the accusations hold much water.”Our cats are all hybrids and are captive-born, how can they be endangered?” Lowe stated. “It’s very disappointing that somebody can be as diligent and caring for the animals and still be criticized for things that we haven’t done wrong.”‘TIGER KING’ STAR JEFF LOWE SPEAKS OUT ABOUT USDA INVESTIGATION OF HIS ZOO, CALLS ITS FINDINGS MISLEADINGFurthermore, he’s looking forward to his day in court.”I can’t wait to fight them over their bogus allegations,” said the businessman. “Usually when somebody sues you, you are a little bit concerned and I absolutely have no concern whatsoever because we know that we’ve done things right.”He added: “We have documentation that dispels every claim that they have made against us and you know what, it’s going to be one of the most gratifying moments of my life to have them either back down or get me in court and us be vindicated.”Because he feels they’ve done nothing wrong, Lowe said he’s “ready to go to trial today,” as he sees captive-bred and held animals to be exempt from the “endangered” label, and believes that the Act does not apply to hybrids.The suit accuses the duo of not providing proper veterinary care, food and living conditions to the animals.
Joseph Maldonado-Passage is currently serving 22 years after being found guilty of participating in a murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin.
(Santa Rosa County Jail via AP)”These allegations are false,” Lowe stated. “I have hundreds of invoices that show veterinarian bills and invoices for food for the animals. I have pages and pages of records from food bills to vets bills. Lauren keeps an individual file folder on every animal we have, where she maintains vet and other records as it relates to the animal.He also claims that “not once” did inspectors ever ask to see such documentation.”I even spent $400 to fix the wing on a duck that you could buy at the local farmers’ store for $3.50,” he explained. “I love animals. I’ve devoted my life to them. The last thing I would do is neglect my animals.”Furthermore, the suit alleges Lowe abandoned multiple animals when he relocated, but he explained that due to the tight moving deadline, he chose “to give some of [the animals] to fellow animal rescuers from out of state who were there helping us with the move.”Lowe alleged that Baskin would not extend the moving deadline despite his veterinarian running out of sedative, making it necessary to give some animals away. Baskin did not immediately respond to Fox News’ comment request.’TIGER KING’ STAR JEFF LOWE ORDERED TO SURRENDER DOCUMENTS IN ANIMAL NEGLECT CASE EXPOSED BY PETALowe said he was forced to give up “three cats, a handful of wolf hybrids and two bears.”Lowe again seemed to find a hole in the allegations made against him, as some refer to incidents that occurred in 2017.”Back in 2017 we weren’t even living out here in Oklahoma full-time,” he explained. “We were still dealing with Joe Exotic and his shenanigans, we had no idea what he did while we weren’t at the zoo.””I’m paying for Joe’s illicit activities and mistakes,” he added.Additionally, the USDA has taken aim at Lauren for using their animals on their website, as well as her Onlyfans and Cameo accounts. They say income from those sites goes toward the animals, however.
Carole Baskin allegedly did not extend Lowe’s deadline to vacate his property with his animals, forcing him to give some away. Baskin is a fellow big cat enthusiast.
(Netflix)”The USDA is basically telling us we can’t make any money off our animals whether it’s showing them live, in person or even streaming pictures of them over the internet,” said Lowe. “These are my private, personal animals. If I want to show pictures of them, I have that right.”Lowe referred to his park as “clean,” the animals as “well-fed” and their cages as “much larger than the minimal standard set forth by the USDA.”The USDA did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPLowe and Lauren still have a lot of work to do on their park, which she referred to as “a labor of love.”In fact, Lowe has big ideas, potentially turning it into “a theme park or a water park,” turning the property into a bed-and-breakfast or even renting it out “for the movies.”CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTERFinally, the reality star commented on Maldonado-Passage’s 22-year prison sentence, backtracking on his previous support for the sentence.”Joe is guilty of a litany of charges for which he was never charged, but his 22 years sentence was too harsh,” Lowe said. “There are murderers who are sentenced to less time.”

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