WYNNEWOOD, Okla. (KFOR) – PETA is calling for the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park or the GW Zoo to shut down after the USDA found multiple animal welfare issues during their inspection.
Jeff Lowe owns the zoo. Lowe appeared in the Netflix documentary series, “Tiger King,” which was released earlier this year.
“PETA has been saying for years that Jeff Lowe mistreats animals. This is just more proof that Jeff Lowe needs to be out of the animal business,” Brittany Peet, PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement, said to News Nation affiliate KFOR.
Photos obtained by PETA from the USDA show animals in poor condition. Some of them have “flystrike,” where their ears are being eaten by flies.
“Those pictures are reflective of the worst of the worst roadside zoos, and you just don’t see fly strike at reputable captive wildlife facilities and sanctuaries,” Peet said.
Other pictures allegedly show a decomposing, partially burned big cat on a burn pile that was attracting flies.
There was also a lion that was said to be so “lethargic, depressed, and thin” that “the inspection was halted immediately by the inspector.”
“I have never, ever seen the USDA have to stop an inspection because an animal was so ill they needed urgent medical care in order to survive,” Peet said.
The report also says there were older wolves in insufficient shelter.
KFOR asked if Lowe would talk to us about the investigation, but the request was declined.
The Garvin County Sheriff’s Office says they’re also investigating and will use the USDA as part of their case to see if charges should be filed.
“The totality of everything, of everybody’s reports and their inspection, is that going to be enough to have probable cause to submit to the DA’s office for animal abuse,” Garvin County Sheriff Jim Mullett said.
“PETA is calling on the USDA to file a revocation action against Jeff Lowe immediately, let’s get him out of this business and out of the animal abuse business once and for all,” Peet said.
KFOR reached out to the USDA to see if they will take further action. They have not heard back.