WYNNEWOOD, OK (CBSMiami/AP) — The zoo made famous in Netflix’s “Tiger King” docuseries has been awarded to Joe Exotic’s chief rival – Carole Baskin.

In a ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Scott Palk granted control of the Oklahoma zoo that was previously run by Joseph Maldonado-Passage — also known as Joe Exotic — to Big Cat Rescue Corp.

The 67 acres Big Cat Rescue sanctuary is in the Citrus Park area of north Tampa.

The Florida group was founded by Carole Baskin, who also featured prominently in the hit Netflix series.

Maldonado-Passage is currently serving a 22-year federal prison term for killing five tigers and plotting to have Baskin killed.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage aka Joe Exotic and one of his cats in the Netflix docuseries “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” (Source: Netflix via CNN)

Baskin previously sued Maldonado-Passage for trademark and copyright infringements and won a $1 million civil judgment against him. Palk’s judgment Monday found that ownership of the zoo was fraudulently transferred to Maldonado-Passage’s mother in an attempt to avoid paying the judgment.

The decision said the zoo animals must be removed from the property within 120 days but it does not detail what should happen to them.

An attorney for Jeff Lowe, the current owner of the park, said the judgment was not unexpected.
“We anticipated Carol Baskin getting the title to the former park that once belonged to Joe Exotic, and we did not challenge her attempts to do so,” Lowe’s attorney said Monday. “All of Jeff’s focus is on opening the new Tiger King Park in Thackerville, (Oklahoma), which should be opening in the next 120 days.”

Attorneys representing Big Cat Rescue Corp. did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Maldonado-Passage remains incarcerated in Fort Worth, Texas. In a handwritten letter posted Monday on Twitter, he repeated his plea for a presidential pardon.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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