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‘Tiger King’ Trainer And Zoo Owner Convicted In Virginia

Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, who featured prominently in the hit docuseries Tiger King, has been convicted in Virginia on four felony counts related to the purchase and sale of endangered animals.

He is set to be sentenced on September 14, 2023. He faces up to 20 years in prison, but remains free on bond pending sentencing.

Antle was accused of illegally buying endangered lion cubs for display and profit at his South Carolina zoo, Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a news release. A jury convicted Antle on Friday of two felony counts each of wildlife trafficking and conspiring to wildlife traffic.

Antle appeared in Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, Netflix documentary miniseries that focused on tiger breeders.

Beyond his convictions, Antle was acquitted of five counts of animal cruelty, and Judge Alexander Iden dismissed four additional animal cruelty charges against Antle and all charges against his two adult daughters, The Winchester Star reported.

Prosecutor Michelle Welch said Antle’s Myrtle Beach Safari’s petting zoo motivated the trainer to maintain a steady supply of immature lion cubs. He purchased them from Wilson’s Wild Animal Park near Winchester, calling the arrangement a “cub pipeline” from Virginia to South Carolina.

Antle was indicted in 2020 on several offenses, including felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy.

Defense attorney Erin Harrigan called Antle’s prosecution politically motivated in response to a growing public outcry against wild animals being exploited for entertainment purposes.

Source : Deadline