‘Tiger King’ Star ‘Doc’ Antle Arrested by FBI, Charges Not Formally Announced

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Bhaghavan “Doc” Antle of “Tiger King” fame was arrested by the FBI on Friday evening and booked in a Horry County, South Carolina, jail. No charges have been announced.

According to jail records, the 62-year-old exotic animal owner has remained in detention since he was processed at J. Reuben Long Detention Center at 5:38 p.m. ET.

An FBI spokesperson confirmed the arrest to local station ABC15 but said that he could not provide further information until a hearing takes place.

A source close to the investigation told the AP that charges will be formally announced during a hearing on Monday afternoon in Florence, South Carolina.

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Antle is the owner of Myrtle Beach Safari, as well as the president of a non-profit education and wildlife conservation organization called Rare Species Fund.

In May, animal rights organization PETA called on the IRS to investigate Antle, alleging that he funneled charitable donations made to the RSF into his roadside zoo.

“It’s fitting that ‘Doc’ Antle is behind bars after years of locking up the endangered animals he uses in tawdry photo ops,” said Debbie Metzler, PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement. “His legal woes are mounting, as PETA recently blew the whistle on his apparent ‘charity’ scam, and the end to his reign of terrorizing tiger cubs can’t come soon enough.”

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Netflix’s “Tiger King” and follow-up documentary “Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story,” released in December 2021, explore Antle’s history of alleged sexual misconduct and animal abuse.

In October 2020, he was charged with two felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife trafficking. He also faces 13 misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act, as well as animal cruelty charges related to trafficking lion cubs. The trial for those charges is set to begin next month.

Antle’s criminal record extends back to 1989, including more than 35 USDA violations concerning the mistreatment of animals, the AP reported.

The Horry County Sheriff’s Department did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

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