‘Doc’ Antle had a history of animal exploitation before ‘Tiger King’
Bhagavan “Doc” Antle operates Myrtle Beach Safari (aka “TIGERS”), a roadside zoo in South Carolina where exotic baby animals are snatched from their mothers so they can be passed on for high-profit public gatherings, systematically treated as props for advertising stunts and exploited for “likes” on social networks. A PETA target for decades, Antle is a key player in the big cat industry, an alleged wildlife trafficker and the titular villain featured on Netflix. Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story.
With a long history of violating federal animal welfare law (AWA), Antle has been cited for endangering the public and failing to provide animals with necessary veterinary care, sufficient cage space and clean water. The infamous big cat exploiter Joseph Maldonado-Passage (aka “Joe Exotic”) has claimed that Antle puts baby tigers that have become too old for playtime events in a gas chamber to kill them, then cremates their bodies on the spot. .
For decades, Antle competed with PT Barnum by exploiting the defenseless for his own financial gain.
Antle often misleads visitors to her farm into believing they are helping fund conservation efforts. Using this as an excuse for the high price of the dangerous hands-on encounters he offers, he allows members of the public, including his âVIPâ guests, to swim with tigers, pose with an elephant or hold a baby chimpanzee. . But remember: no real wildlife sanctuary or legitimate conservation organization would exploit endangered animals in cruel public gatherings, nor would they keep the counterparts of these animals in their natural habitats.
Since entering animal exploitation nearly 40 years ago, Antle has used wild animals for television productions.
He boasts of taking animals on late night talk shows and exhibiting animals in a live performance on an MTV awards show. These were undoubtedly noisy and frightening situations for the animals, and they surely experienced stress and suffering. Now that no chimps are used in Hollywood, in part thanks to massive public opposition to their exploitation, Antle is content to scroll the chimps on social media.
Since the start of his career, he has been been cited for various animal welfare violations.
He was also arrested by the authorities for the following facts:
- Bubbles, an African elephant imported from Zimbabwe and now exhibited by the famous Antle, is one of the loneliest elephants in the United States. Exploited for television commercials, Bubbles has not had contact with another elephant for 31 years.
- At an event at a high school in Tennessee on October 6, 1990, Antle allowed several people to pose with a tiger. An arrest warrant was subsequently issued accusing him of allowing direct contact between dangerous animals and the public. A newspaper article at the time said he had been the subject of investigations by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and “had been the target of several prosecutions.”
- A lion he was using in a photoshoot in New Hampshire on October 9, 1991, attacked a model. The animal grabbed her by the head, causing injuries that required more than 50 stitches. Throughout the investigation, Antle has given authorities the opportunity to take the tour.
- During an inspection at a Renaissance Fair in Massachusetts on October 11, 1991, Antle admitted that hitting feral cats was a method he used “when an animal behaves badly.” Ultimately, he received an offense for having an expired license, fined $ 50 and ordered to leave the state.
- The USDA imposed a civil fine of $ 3,500 on him on October 22, 1991, for responding to a number of AWA violations. Six months later, the agency demanded payment of the fine because her check was bad.
- On February 27, 1992, a USDA investigative report detailed alleged violations of U.S. fishing and wildlife regulations by the Antle interstate movement of unaccompanied health certificates. The inspector said: âThis investigation has taken a long time to gather the information submitted. This was in part because Antle presented false and misleading information as to the location of the tiger in question.
- Antle was fined $ 1,000 in civil matters on November 12, 1993, for failing to complete a required official test and for not having a certificate containing the information required for the interstate transportation of bison from Florida to Tennessee.
- Antle was indicted in October 2020 and charged with one count of wildlife trafficking, one count of conspiracy to smuggle wildlife and 13 counts of misdemeanor, including animal cruelty, Virginia. His charges stem from his alleged involvement in lion trafficking with now missing Wilson Wildlife Park owner Keith Wilson who faces similar charges. Authorities in Virginia have seized more than 100 animals from the roadside zoo after PETA filed complaints with the state.
The USDA told Antle in 2005 that his public photoshoots with adult big cats violated the AWA, but this has left him repeatedly getting away with these dangerous encounters since then. PETA calls on the agency to stop standing by his side and allow him to endanger vulnerable tigers.
Antle doesn’t hesitate to tear babies away from their mothers.
He regularly produces feline cubs for use at public gatherings. But where do these baby tigers go when they exceed their profitability? Antle keeps it on his property to be used as a breeder. He uses others in a theatrical setting during public tours. And he ships tigers to exhibitor exploiters:
- On July 17, 2019, Antle dispatched two 8-month-old tigers to Ryan Easley, a circus trainer who was caught whipping tigers, including one who was allegedly hit 31 times.
- On April 1, 2019, Antle sold two 8-month-old tigers to Jay Owenhouse, a magician who exploits the tigers in a travel act.
- On November 6, 2008, the USDA cited exhibitor Mario Tabraue for knowingly creating fraudulent documentation and presenting false information to a USDA official regarding the acquisition and transfer of two baby tigers he had acquired. from Antle.
- Between October and December 2006, Antle sent 12-week-old tigers to Big Cats of Serenity Springs, a now-extinct roadside zoo in Colorado.
- In July 2006, he sent seven tigers overseas to Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo in Thailand, which uses the animals for “tiger selfie” photo ops. In January 2021, he claimed the facility was “beautiful” during an interview with National Geographic, also calling the reporter “Al-Qaeda to the max” when she informed him that investigators discovered numerous issues. animal welfare, especially that the handlers were carrying wood. rods with them as they forced moaning and distressed tigers to pose for photos of tourists as they were chained to the concrete floor by their necks.
Where do cubs end up when #TigerKingIs Doc Antle done with them? Even a former Myrtle Beach Safari “apprentice” didn’t know, but PETA discovered that these tigers had been dumped by an equally evil mugger. https://t.co/Wi6OFetdnt pic.twitter.com/TdxAvmESdF
– PETA (@peta) April 2, 2020
Antle also has a habit of acquiring felines from shady exhibitors across the country:
- May 29, 2018 â An article aired in the first season of King tiger notes that “Joe Exotic” sent three 5 week old tigers and one 4 week old liliger to Antle. “Joe Exotic” ex-husband Dillon Passage slipped the producer’s document in an apparent effort to hide the information.
- July 18, 2016 â Tanganyika Wildlife Park, a roadside zoo in Kansas, shipped three 2-week-old tiger cubs and a 3-week-old clouded leopard to Antle.
- May 21, 2016 â Tiger Safari, a roadside zoo in Oklahoma, shipped three baby tigers that 8 hours to him.
- April 14, 2015 â Natural Bridge Zoo, a roadside zoo in Virginia, shipped her four baby tigers who were only one week old.
- April 13, 2015 â Tiger Safari shipped three baby tigers that were only one day to him.
- September 16, 2014 â Tiger Safari shipped two 5-day-old baby tigers to him.
- June 14, 2014 â Wild Animal Safari, a roadside zoo in Missouri, sent him three 5-day-old baby tigers.
Take action for tigers and other animals
Please urge Myrtle Beach Safari to end its cruel public gatherings and send the animals to reputable facilities where they can live in peace and receive the care they deserve. It only takes a minute using your phone or computer, so what are you waiting for?