Court Orders Jeff Lowe to Hand Over Records on Suffering Lions Received From Tim Stark

PETA Wins Another Motion in Lawsuit Against the Notorious Wildlife in Need and G.W. Zoo Operators

For Immediate Release:
July 2, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Charlestown, Ind. – The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has ordered Jeff Lowe—the operator of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park (G.W. Zoo) in Oklahoma—to pay attorney’s fees and turn over veterinary records and other documents relating to juvenile lions (previously owned by Tim Stark of Wildlife in Need) in his custody to PETA. The group had filed a motion to compel the records as part of an ongoing Endangered Species Act lawsuit that challenges cruel big-cat cub petting by Stark, who sent the lions to Lowe in violation of a preliminary injunction in the case.

The court order comes just one week after PETA released whistleblower photos and video footage showing that two of the lions were suffering from severe “flystrike”—a condition in which flies, usually drawn to uncleared animal waste, bite other animals and lay eggs on them and the hatched maggots eat away at their skin. PETA has also filed an emergency motion with the court seeking, among other remedies, to have all the big cats at issue in the case, including the four lions at G.W. Zoo, transferred to an accredited sanctuary.

“This ruling sends a message to Tim Stark and Jeff Lowe that they must stop their shady dealings and animal mistreatment or face the wrath of the court,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA looks forward to proceeding with our lawsuit and holding these animal exploiters accountable.”

PETA’s action comes after Lowe failed to respond substantively to the group’s initial request for the ailing lions’ records—ludicrously claiming in writing and at a deposition that the animals’ veterinary records were protected from disclosure under HIPAA, which only covers human medical records—and responded to other questions with “it’s none of your f***ing business.” He complained that it was “complete bullsh*t” when PETA conclusively exposed one of his many lies and stormed out of the deposition in under one hour after daring PETA to “compel my testimony”—which it now has.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that the court also ordered Lowe to sit for a full seven-hour deposition, with the threat of a second deposition if he “continues to act in bad faith” and sanctions if he continues to “act obstreperously.”

PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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