Jeffrey Lowe, the man who took over the animal park at the center of the popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King,” was accused on Thursday of violating the Endangered Species Act and Animal Welfare Act, prosecutors said.
On Thursday, the Department of Justice announced that it had filed a 110-page civil complaint against Mr. Lowe and his wife, Lauren Lowe, and the park, the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Okla.
The complaint accuses the couple of violating the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act by exhibiting animals without a license and jeopardizing the health of their animals. The complaint asked the court to require the couple to relinquish some of their animals to the government.
Mr. Lowe’s lawyer, James M. Wirth, said in a statement that the couple were “consistently caring and kind stewards of animals in their care,” and that the government had constructed a “fictional interpretation” of the Animal Welfare Act.
“The government claims that because Mr. and Mrs. Lowe allowed a documentary crew onto their property, they were unlawfully exhibiting wildlife,” he said. “By the government’s contrived standard, anyone who takes a selfie of an endangered species in a zoo is an unlawful exhibitor in violation of federal law.”
Mr. Lowe is the latest figure from the documentary, about feuding exotic-animal owners and animal-rights activists, to face accusations of wrongdoing by the government. The previous owner of the park, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was convicted last year of trying to hire a hit man to kill an animal-rights activist who criticized him.
Another park owner featured in the documentary, Bhagavan Antle, who