Baltimore-based exotic animal handler Joe Exotic, known on “America’s Wildest Animal Experiences” as “Tiger King,” is being held by animal control in Raleigh, N.C., after a complaint from a public utility company last week.
Carolina Electric Service Co. said it had gotten a call from a neighbor complaining that Exotic, who lives in Lexington Park, Md., had chained two tigers in his backyard.
Exotic’s contract with CAPE Learning Center to train the bears, lions and tigers had been terminated, spokesman Dave Winfield said Friday. He confirmed that Exotic had been charged with animal cruelty, and that Raleigh animal control had been called in.
“We don’t know if there is anything we can do or not at this point,” Winfield said.
Carolina Electric and the Utility Commission declined to elaborate on the complaint.
CAPE Learning Center released a statement calling its trainers “heroes” whose presence “has always been above reproach.”
“Their work of bringing hope and love to people of all backgrounds has done more to advance awareness of their species and communicate their message of love than any other media production,” the statement said.
CAPE Learning Center also said it did not cause the termination of Exotic’s contract.
“These allegations are totally false and it is clear that there is a political agenda behind the loss of Taker and Rusty’s services,” the statement said.