Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story is now streaming on Netflix with the three-part series putting the animal trainer and private zoo operator under the spotlight.
The documentary sets out to investigate whether the larger-than-life character is a ‘showman’ or a ‘conman’.
According to the synopsis, the episodes feature a number of witnesses coming forward with ‘troubling stories of abuse and intimidation that set him at the top of the food chain’.
Here’s everything you need to know about Doc Antle.
Who is Doc Antle?
Doc, real name Mahamayavi Bhagavan Antle, was a key player in the first series of Tiger King and welcomed the cameras into his private zoo, Myrtle Beach Safari.
In 1983, he founded T.I.G.E.R.S., a wildlife preservation organisation in South Carolina dedicated to promoting global conservation education through entertaining and interactive programmes. His safari tour runs through the facility.
Antle also founded the Rare Species Fund (RSF), a grassroots organisation that provides financial support and practical training to wildlife conservation initiatives in situ, that same year.
Over the course of his career, he has provided a number of animal actors for films such as Ace Ventura, Dr Doolittle, and Mr Magoo.
Britney Spears even danced in a cage with one of his tigers for the MTV Awards.
Is Doc Antle in jail?
Antle has faced accusations of animal cruelty throughout the course of his career, however he has not been jailed.
In 1989, he was fined by the USDA ( United States Department of Agriculture) for abandoning deer and peacocks at his zoo in Buckingham, Virginia. In total, he has more than 35 USDA violations for mistreating animals.
In late December 2019, Antle’s Myrtle Beach Safari was raided by South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Horry County Police Department.
One year later, he was reported as being investigated by the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Justice for the illegal sale of big cats.
In October 2020, Antle was indicted by a grand jury in Virginia, after a months-long investigation by the Virginia Attorney General’s Animal Law Unit.
His charges included felony wildlife trafficking and a misdemeanour animal cruelty and violations of the Endangered Species Act.
Prosecutors say that Antle carried or caused the lions to be carried in a ‘cruel, brutal, or inhumane manner, so as to produce torture or unnecessary suffering.’
Antle denied the claims in a statement, which read: ‘I categorically deny any act or conduct that could ever be considered as “animal cruelty”.
‘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 in any way. I look forward to being able to answer these charges and to be able to clear my good name.’
It was also revealed that two of Antle’s daughters had been charged with misdemeanours.
Tawny Antle faces one misdemeanour count of cruelty to animals while Tilakum Watterson has been charged with two misdemeanour counts of cruelty to animals and two misdemeanour counts of violating the Endangered Species Act.
A trial date was set for July 2022.
Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story is available to stream on Netflix.
Credit: Original article published here.