‘Doc’ Antle, Myrtle Beach Safari owner, arrested by FBI

Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 6:36 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The owner of the Myrtle Beach Safari is now behind bars, according to online records.

Bhagavan “Doc” Antle was booked into the J. Reuben Long Detention Center on Friday. No charges have publicly been listed as of Saturday afternoon.

An FBI source confirmed to WMBF News that the agency had arrested Antle, but provided no further information.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office told WMBF News that a hearing for Antle is scheduled for Monday. More information on the case will also be provided then.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that Antle’s charges stem from money laundering allegations, per a source. WMBF News is working to independently verify that report.

The arrest comes as PETA recently called for an investigation into Myrtle Beach Safari and nonprofit Rare Species Fund, of which Antle serves as its president. The organization claimed Antle was using charitable donations to fund the zoo while claiming to support wildlife conservation.

Shortly after Antle’s arrest, Debbie Metzler, Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement PETA released an additional statement saying:

“It’s fitting that “Doc” Antle is behind bars after years of locking up the endangered animals he uses in tawdry photo ops. His legal woes are mounting, as PETA recently blew the whistle on his apparent “charity” scam, and the end to his reign of terrorizing tiger cubs can’t come soon enough.”

WMBF News reached out to the Myrtle Beach Safari on Friday for comment. We have not received a response.

We also reached out to the Rare Species Fund, the South Carolina Secretary of State, and the IRS for comment shortly after PETA called for an investigation. We have not yet received responses from those entities as well.

Antle is also well known for his appearances in the “Tiger King” series of Netflix documentaries.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.

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