PETA Victory Results in More Than $180,000 Payout From ‘Tiger King’ Villain Jeff Lowe

Published by Sara Oliver.

Update (April 25, 2022): Animal exhibitor Jeff Lowe was slammed with a huge bill by the judge ruling over PETA’s successful Endangered Species Act lawsuit against the Tiger King antagonist last week. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma ordered Lowe to pay $183,557.90 in attorneys’ fees and costs to PETA.

PETA Foundation Director of Litigation Asher Smith weighed in on this latest progress:

No amount of money can undo the suffering that these lions endured, but the judge has sent a clear signal that animal abuse comes with a hefty price tag. This fresh blow will make it harder for Lowe to do business, and PETA asks the public to help wipe out other animal exploiters by shunning all roadside zoos.

Lowe’s payment will be put toward future efforts to rescue other animals like Nala from decrepit roadside zoos. We will continue our efforts to recoup payments from him and Tim Stark, Lowe’s former business partner and a fellow Tiger King menace who owes us more than $750,000 in legal fees and other costs.

Keep scrolling to learn more about our lawsuit win against Lowe and to discover how you, too, can take action for big cats.

Originally published on March 1, 2022:

PETA has scored a victory with our Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against notorious animal exhibitor and Tiger King villain Jeff Lowe! The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma found that Lowe “treated the four lions directly involved in this case … with appalling cruelty.” This is the first court decision establishing that Lowe’s treatment of animals was so deficient that it violated the ESA.

Jeff Lowe’s Violations of the ESA

Our lawsuit sought justice for the mistreatment of lion cubs Nala, Kahari, Amelia, and Leo, who were originally in the custody of Jeff Lowe and his former business partner Tim Stark. Stark violated multiple court orders in the case by transporting the four cubs to Lowe’s Wynnewood property, and Kahari died there only days before her scheduled rescue.

The court agreed that Lowe—who had lied about the circumstances of Kahari’s death and left her body outside to decompose beyond the point at which a necropsy could determine its cause—was in fact responsible for the lion’s death. He was also found liable for a number of other violations, including the following:

  • Feeding the cubs a commercial milk replacer that lacked the necessary nutrients found in mothers’ milk and, when they were older, providing rancid, nutrient-deficient meat as their only food source
  • Lacking adequate enclosures, which contributed to gruesome injuries, including a bite wound that required part of Amelia’s paw to be amputated
  • Failing to hire a veterinarian with sufficient training or experience in lion care and failing to treat numerous injuries uncovered by PETA experts
  • Failing to take adequate COVID-19 precautions, including failure to restrict access to animals, a first-of-its kind ruling under the ESA

What You Can Do to Help Big Cats

Pride of lions at Maasai Mara

This court win sends a clear message to other animal exploiters that they will be held accountable for their actions. PETA’s victory against Stark allowed us to rescue the three surviving cubs as well as 22 other big cats.

Please urge your members of Congress to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which would end private ownership of big cats, safeguarding humans and our fellow animals across the U.S.!

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind

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