‘Tiger King’’s Doc Antle arrested by the FBI

The zoo owner and animal trainer was arrested in South Carolina on Friday (June 3)

Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, a zoo owner who appeared on the Netflix docuseries Tiger King, has been arrested by the FBI.

The zoo operator and animal trainer was the subject of the documentary Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story, which was released last year.

Sherriff records show Antle was arrested by FBI agents in Horry County, South Carolina around 5:40pm yesterday (June 3). No charges were listed on the records.

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NME has contacted Myrtle Beach Safari, which is owned by Antle, for comment on Antle’s arrest but did not receive a response.

The zoo owner was previously indicted for wildlife trafficking, animal cruelty and other charges in 2020. He denied the charges at the time, saying: “I have spent my entire professional life promoting the welfare and conservation of big cats and other species. I have deep regard and feelings for the animals in my care and would never hurt or abuse them.” A trial relating to the charges is set for July 2022.

Bhagavan ‘Doc’ Antle. Credit: Storms Media Group/Alamy Live News

In 2020, following the animal trainer’s indictment, PETA called on the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate him due to events that occurred during a visit to his zoo from Lil Pump. Antle had posted a video of an elephant named Bubbles lifting the rapper up by its trunk. Another video saw Pump in a pool next to a tiger.

In a statement, PETA’s associate director of captive animal law enforcement Debbie Metzler called Pump’s visit “exceptionally dangerous”. “Not only is coming into direct physical contact with an elephant’s powerful trunk extremely risky, but [he] could have spooked Bubbles and led to her stepping on Lil Pump as he landed,” she said.

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