Joe Exotic’s biggest enemy awarded ownership of his zoo

Joe Exotic’s infamous private zoo will soon become the property of a Tampa tiger sanctuary.A federal judge in Oklahoma on Monday ruled the 16 acres containing the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park must be surrendered to Big Cat Rescue Corp. within 120 days. Several buildings where zoo employees live and a fleet of vehicles were included in the judgement.The private zoo, formerly known as the G.W. Zoo, was featured heavily in Netflix’s Tiger King. The series documented the life of eccentric zookeeper Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, and his long feud with Carole Baskin, CEO and founder of Tampa sanctuary Big Cat Rescue.Big Cat Rescue was awarded $1 million in a trademark infringement lawsuit against Exotic in 2013. The zoo property was later transferred to Exotic’s mother Shirley Schreibvogel, who was sued by Big Cat Rescue in 2016.In a summary judgement, Judge Scott L. Palk ruled the transfer to Schreibvogel was fraudulent and intended to keep the property out of reach of her son’s creditors, including Big Cat Rescue.Monday’s ruling also requires the operators of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, who own the zoo business and lease the property, to leave and remove all of the animals. The zoo’s current owners are Jeff and Lauren Lowe, who took over the zoo from Exotic and were also featured in Tiger King.Palk was the same judge who presided over Exotic’s criminal case. The zookeeper was sentenced in January to 22 years in prison for paying a hitman $3,000 to kill Baskin, and for shooting five tigers at the Oklahoma zoo. The hit was never carried out.Baskin and her sanctuary have for years crusaded against private zoos and zookeepers like Exotic who buy, sell and breed exotic cats.The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park recently reopened to the public after closing due to concerns over the coronavirus. Media reports showed visitors posing for photos with Jeff Lowe and zoo employee Allen Glover, the man who Exotic was convicted of hiring to kill Baskin.
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