Doc Antle, the owner of the Myrtle Beach Safari animal park featured in Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, has been charged with wildlife trafficking, prosecutors announced on Friday, according to the New York Times.
Bhagavan Antle, otherwise known as Doc, has been charged with animal trafficking in a case connected to lion cubs being moved between Virginia and South Carolina.
Antle was charged with two felony counts as well as 13 misdemeanors, according to the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia.
Antle’s two daughters, Tawny Antle and Tilakam Watterson, are also facing several misdemeanor charges connected to animal cruelty and alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act.
Antle issued a statement strongly denying the charges.
“I categorically deny any act or conduct that could ever be considered as ‘animal cruelty,’” Antle said. “I have spent my entire professional life promoting the welfare and conservation of big cats and other species.”
Antle’s public profile skyrocketed as a result of Netflix’s Tiger King documentary series, but it was Joseph Maldonado-Passage (AKA Joe Exotic) who was featured as the documentary’s true star. Maldonado-Passage is now serving a 22-year sentence for attempting to hire a hitman to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin, who was also featured in the series.
Netflix has declined to comment to the Times on the charges brought up against Antle.
Best True Crime Shows and Movies to Watch Online
The charges are one part of a lengthy investigation by the Virginia attorney general’s law unit. The investigation focused on the relationship between Antle and one Keith A. Wilson, owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park in Virginia. Wilson faces two felony charges in connection to wildlife trafficking and 17 misdemeanors. Wilson was also previously indicted in November with 46 counts of animal cruelty by a grand jury in November and is awaiting trial in June 2021.
“I have deep regard and feelings for the animals in my care and would never hurt or abuse them in any way,” Antle said in his statement. “I look forward to being able to answer these charges and be able to clear my good name.”
The craze over Netflix’s Tiger King docu-series proved so vast that multiple offshoots are now in various stages of production. Kate McKinnon and NBCUniversal have teamed up to produce a new series focused on Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. Nicolas Cage has also been cast as Joe Exotic in a different series from CBS, which will be Cage’s first TV role. Investigation Discovery has greenlit a series focused on investigating Carole Baskin.
IGN gave Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness an eight out of 10, calling it a “fascinating and depressing look inside the world of big cat fanatics.”
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer for IGN, and he’s emphatically a dog person.