In a ruling Monday, a federal judge granted control of the Oklahoma zoo that was previously owned by Joe Exotic, also known as Joseph Maldonado-Passage, to his chief rival, Baskin, owner of the Big Cat Rescue Corp. The decision said the zoo animals must be removed from the property within 90 days, and according to reports, its current owner, Jeff Lowe, will also need to vacate the facility.
Baskin reacted to the ruling on Tuesday in a statement to Fox News.
“Over a year ago Mr. Lowe announced plans to move the animals to a location in Thackerville, OK that he has been constructing and he claims will be a better facility. He recently stated that he had funds to complete the zoo and a contractor who could complete it in a few months,” Baskin said.
Carole Baskin, left, was granted control of Joe Exotic’s former Oklahoma zoo in a court ruling made by a federal judge Monday.
(Netflix/Santa Rosa County Jail via AP)
Her statement continues: “If the need arises to make other plans to place the animals in new homes, Big Cat Rescue and the animal welfare organizations that have previously successfully placed big cats from large facilities in new homes stand ready to assist.”
Baskin told us she will not further comment on the issue but attached copies of the court documents onto the Big Cat Rescue website.
Viewers of Netflix’s hit “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” know that Baskin is Maldonado-Passage’s No. 1 nemesis.
Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue.
The two were engaged in an intense rivalry within the world of big cats, as chronicled in the series.
Maldonado-Passage is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for his involvement in a murder-for-hire plot against Baskin.
Baskin previously sued Maldonado-Passage for trademark and copyright infringements and won a $1 million civil judgment against him. Palk’s judgment Monday found that ownership of the zoo was fraudulently transferred to Maldonado-Passage’s mother in an attempt to avoid paying the judgment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.