LAS VEGAS (KTNV) – Jeff Lowe struck a plea deal in Las Vegas in 2018.
He got probation instead of jail for illegally exhibiting exotic animals – selling photo ops with cubs in Las Vegas neighborhoods.
As a condition of the deal, Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge Cedric Kerns ordered Lowe not to have any problems.
But it seems that was too high an order, and the animals might be the ones paying the price.
Video provided by TMZ shows federal authorities at US Fish and Wildlife and USDA this month confiscating 68 protected lions, tigers, lion-tiger hybrids and a jaguar from Jeff and Lauren Lowe’s Tiger King Park in Thackerville, Oklahoma .
The federal government was executing a search and seizure warrant for continuing violations of endangered species law and animal welfare.
Prosecutors say the endangered animals were allegedly mistreated.
“The Lowes left the morning the federal authorities arrived, May 17, which was a Monday morning,” said Steve Hindi, president of Show Animals Respect and Kindness – or SHARK.
The animal welfare organization uses technology, like drones and cameras, to document the conditions in which animals are kept.
While following the animals at Tiger King Park for several months, they ran into the Lowes.
“When we first flew our drones over his property, his wife [Lauren] was running around with a gun, “said Hindi, who you can see in SHARK video posted on YouTube from January 25.
In this same video, Lowe himself threatens to shoot down the drone during an exchange with Steve Hindi:
Jeff Lowe: “Whether it’s legal or not, it will fall.”
Steve Hindi: “Whether it’s legal or not, are you going to shoot down the drone?”
Jeff Lowe: “Yeah, I’ll deal with the repercussions.”
According to this affidavit, during the execution of the search and seizure warrant on May 6, Lauren Lowe threatened to kill a federal agent of US Fish and Wildlife.
“These people, in my opinion, have no respect for animals, for their neighbors or even for themselves,” said Hindi.
On May 18, SHARK started filming again.
“We were really interested in what was happening after the authorities and the rescue team left.”
Authorities were only allowed to confiscate big cats because they were protected under the endangered species law.
They left the rest of the animals behind.
“There were horses, there was a burro, there were two ponies, there was the camel, the wolves, there were primates …” says Hindi.
Also, turtles, lemurs, emus, goats, caracals, bobcats, foxes and serval cats.
In addition, new complaints from neighbors.
“They released some of the animals in the neighborhood,” said Hindi.
People living nearby tell 13 investigators they saw an albino raccoon, porcupine and peacock that lived in the park.
As for those who are still on the property, Hindi says, “There were still quite a few animals there. And they weren’t getting proper and proper care. Someone was there but they weren’t there. regularly.”
A camel, which SHARK filmed, is particularly concerned with the neck under the fence of its enclosure, trying to reach for some greenery.
“If the camel was really properly and properly fed, why does it need to do this?” Hindi wonders.
Jeff Lowe did not return our calls or texts. A source close to the Lowes claims that this is normal behavior for the camel and that it is well groomed.
But improper animal care, including inadequate food, shelter and veterinary care, are some of the things that originally caused the Lowes to have trouble with federal authorities.
A USDA inspector documented “At least three big cats under one year old have died of malnutrition since the end of September 2020” and two over one year old “have died in suspicious circumstances during the same period “.
Hindi says animals are only part of the problem on the Tiger King property at the moment, pointing to other footage of SHARK’s drone captured over the weekend.
“It was sort of half-burnt, but it was just loaded with bones and rotting carcasses. And on top of that, just garbage, garbage: cans, bottles, including containers – containers used oil and bleach – and the remains of those containers were like a shard on standing water. “
Then … it rained and he said the water started to flow.
“It is not only the Lowe property that is poisoned, but actually the property of neighboring properties.”
They shared the footage with Oklahoma environmental authorities.
The USDA has noted similar problems in the park.
During a May 6 inspection, a USDA vet noted a “strong stench” from “a pile of rotting animals attracting flies,” as well as “rotting carcasses inside. some enclosures and a refrigerated truck covered in flies, probably filled with putrid meat. “
“When the breeze blew from their property onto the neighboring property where we were allowed to take off at the end, it was just row, it was just despicable,” said Hindi.
SHARK’s drone footage also shows trash strewn across the porch and yard of what looks like a residential structure on the property.
“It is a danger for everyone as long as this property remains as it is,” says Hindi.
A number of animal groups have volunteered to save the remaining animals and Hindi says some animals have disappeared from the property which may be a good thing …
“But when it’s the Lowes who make them disappear, you don’t know what’s going on,” he warned.
13 Investigates was unable to confirm where these animals have gone as Jeff Lowe does not respond to our calls or texts.
All of this is happening in Oklahoma as the Las Vegas affair dragged on.
“I hope the judge finally loses patience with this guy who keeps mocking the judge and the whole court system,” said Hindi. “Until someone slaps him really good, he’s just more emboldened.”
Lowe told his lawyer he wanted to quit the pet business because of too many issues with federal agencies.
SHARK Investigator Mike Cobliska says they’ll watch, “And if he shows up elsewhere, we’re going to document what he’s doing with those animals over there. And hopefully Las Vegas gets some justice and the will slow down somewhat. “
The latest continuation in the Las Vegas case came after allegations that Lowe had had a stroke and was unable to travel from Oklahoma.
A new hearing is scheduled for June 9.
Lowe faces six months in prison if convicted of violating the terms of his plea agreement.