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The Daily News Box

News and Entertainment

‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle and Va. ‘ Roadside Zoo owner charged with illegal wildlife trade

ByReiss Bowler

Oct 9, 2020

WINCHESTER, Va. (WAVY) – Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, one of the main characters in Netflix’s hit “Tiger King” documentary, is facing multiple pet trafficking charges.

According to an investigation by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s Animal Law Unit, Antle and Keith A. Wilson, the owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park in Frederick County, Virginia, lion cubs traded between Virginia and Antle’s Myrtle Beach Safari Park.

Antle has been charged with one felony count of wildlife trafficking, one felony count of conspiracy to traffic wild animals, four felony counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act, and nine felony counts of animal cruelty.

Wilson is facing one felony count of wildlife trade, one felony count of conspiracy to move wild animals, four felony counts of violating the Endangered Species Act, four felony counts of conspiracy to commit the Endangered Species Act, and nine felony counts of animal cruelty.

Both men were indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday, along with two of Doc Antle’s daughters.

Tawny Antle has been charged with one felony charge of cruelty to animals and one felony charge of violating the Endangered Species Act, and Tilakum Watterson has been charged with two violations of cruelty to animals and two violations of the Endangered Species Act.

According to Herring’s office, a months-long investigation led to the allegations, including a search of Antle’s South Carolina property in December 2019.

Wilson had previously been charged by a Frederick County grand jury, along with his cousin Christian Dall’Acqua, in November 2019 on allegations of animal cruelty related to Wilson’s ‘roadside zoo’. A month earlier, Herring’s Animal Law Unit seized 119 “cruelly treated, neglected, or robbed” zoo animals, including lions, tigers, bears, camels, goats and water buffaloes.

Antle was one of the three main characters in the Netflix series.

Joseph “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage is in prison for his role in an assassination plot against another show protagonist, Carole Baskin, who recently appeared on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

Baskin is still facing heat over her former husband’s disappearance in 1997, Don Lewis, but maintains her innocence in the case. Maldonado Passage has requested a pardon from President Donald Trump.