A South Carolina animal trainer who gained fame in the Netflix docuseries “Tiger King” was arrested by FBI agents on Friday.
Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, 62, of Myrtle Beach, was booked into the J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Horry County at 5:38 p.m. EDT, according to online booking records. No charges have been listed, records show.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office told The Sun News of Myrtle Beach that details regarding his arrest couldn’t be released until the case is unsealed.
Antle owns the Myrtle Beach Safari and was featured in “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” a 2020 Netflix documentary miniseries that focused on tiger breeders in Florida and Oklahoma. In 2021, Netflix released “Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story,” a miniseries that featured witnesses’ claims of “abuse and intimidation,” according to IMDb.com.
Antle told WBTW-TV in December that the allegations made in the 2021 series were “absolutely false.”
The Myrtle Beach Safari is located on 50 acres in South Myrtle Beach, WYFF-TV reported. According to its website, the park offers three-hour day safaris and customers the chance to meet “the world’s largest big cat” and interact with baby tiger cubs.
The park opened in 1983, according to its website.
Antle’s arrest comes amid calls by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for an investigation into the facility and the nonprofit Rare Species Fund, WMBF-TV reported. Antle is president of the Rare Species Fund, and PETA accused him of using charitable donations to fund the zoo while claiming to support wildlife conservation, according to the television station.
In October 2020, Antle was indicted in Virginia on animal cruelty and wildlife trafficking charges, WYFF reported. Antle faces one felony count of wildlife trafficking, one felony count of conspiracy to wildlife traffic and 13 additional misdemeanor charges relating to animal cruelty and the Endangered Species Act, according to People.
Three months later, Antle waived his right to appear in court, WBTW reported. His trial is set to begin on Oct. 31, according to the television station.
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