‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle indicted on charges of trafficking lion cubs across Virginia border

Months-long investigation led to 119 animals seized, 86 total indictments

KEENESBURG, CO - APRIL 05: One of the 39 tigers rescued in 2017 from Joe Exotic's G.W. Exotic Animal Park relaxes at the Wild Animal Sanctuary on April 5, 2020 in Keenesburg, Colorado. Exotic, star of the wildly successful Netflix docu-series Tiger King, is currently in prison for a murder-for-hire plot and surrendered some of his animals to the Wild Animal Sanctuary. The Sanctuary cares for some 550 animals on two expansive reserves in Colorado. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
KEENESBURG, CO - APRIL 05: One of the 39 tigers rescued in 2017 from Joe Exotic's G.W. Exotic Animal Park relaxes at the Wild Animal Sanctuary on April 5, 2020 in Keenesburg, Colorado. Exotic, star of the wildly successful Netflix docu-series Tiger King, is currently in prison for a murder-for-hire plot and surrendered some of his animals to the Wild Animal Sanctuary. The Sanctuary cares for some 550 animals on two expansive reserves in Colorado. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images) (2020 Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. – Bhagavan “Doc" Antle from Netflix’s Tiger King and a Virginia animal park owner have been indicted for trafficking lion cubs and animal cruelty, according to the Attorney General Mark Herring’s office.

The indictments come after the attorney general’s animal law unit did a months-long investigation into “Doc” Antle, the owner of Myrtle Beach Safari, and Keith Wilson, the owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park in Frederick County.

Investigators say that the men trafficked lion cubs back and forth in between Virginia and South Carolina.

Herring’s animal law unit seized 119 animals from Wilson’s “roadside zoo” in August of 2019 after a judge issued an order, stating he “cruelly treated, neglected, or deprived the animal[s] of adequate care.”

Authorities say the team seized lions, tigers, bears, camels, goats, water buffalo and more — all of which are now being cared for by animal control agencies and and exotic and agricultural animal rescue partner organizations.

Later that month during a 12-hour seizure hearing in Frederick County General District Court, photos and video recordings from Wilson’s animal park were entered and used as evidence, and experts testified to the cruelty and poor conditions at the zoo.

In November, Herring announced that Wilson and his nephew, Christian Dall’Acqua were both indicted on 46 counts of animal cruelty by a grand jury in Frederick County, with the trial date set for June 21 to 25, 2021.

Antle’s property in South Carolina was also searched as part of the investigation in December 2019.


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