PETA Statement: ‘Doc’ Antle Sentenced to $10K Fine, 5-Year Ban

For Immediate Release:
October 3, 2023

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Myrtle Beach, S.C.Tiger King villain and Myrtle Beach Safari operator Bhagavan “Doc” Antle was sentenced today in Frederick County Circuit Court in Virginia to a $10,000 fine, a two-year suspended sentence, five years of probation, and a five-year ban on working with, trading, possessing, or engaging in other activities with non-native exotic wildlife for two counts of wildlife trafficking and two counts of conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking under Virginia law. Separate federal charges are pending. Below, please find a statement from PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Welfare Debbie Metzler:

Antle escaped a prison sentence this time, but he’s still facing multiple federal charges for alleged money laundering and alleged wildlife trafficking of animals, including endangered cheetahs and a chimpanzee. Based on his convictions in Virginia and his years of mistreating animals, including tearing baby big cats, chimpanzees, and other animals away from their mothers to be used in public encounters, PETA is calling on federal authorities to terminate the licenses that keep his sleazy roadside zoo operating.

More details about Antle’s exploitation of animals are available here.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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