'Joe Exotic' files for bankruptcy protection after court ruling

Just six weeks after a federal judge ordered him to pay a Florida animal sanctuary nearly $1 million to settle a lawsuit, a Wynnewood man who goes by the name Joe Exotic has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.
by Andrew Knittle Published: April 3, 2013

Just six weeks after a federal judge ordered him to pay a Florida animal sanctuary nearly $1 million to settle a trademark infringement lawsuit, a Wynnewood man who goes by the name Joe Exotic has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Joe Schreibvogel, who also goes by the names Aarron Alex and Cody Ryan, lists debts totaling $1.2 million, most of which are traceable to the judgment handed down in February by a judge in Florida.

Schreibvogel, who operated what is now the G.W. Zoo in Wynnewood from the late 1990s until February, in court records lists assets of $127,739. Roughly half of that total is in the form of vehicles used to run the animal park.

Schreibvogel lists 43 tigers and five black bears as personal property. Records show the carnivores are worth an “unknown” sum of money.

Schreibvogel also owes more than $30,000 to attorneys who worked on the trademark infringement case, records show.

An affidavit signed by Schreibvogel and filed in federal court states he “became unemployed on Feb. 26, 2013, and I am not receiving any monthly income.”

During a recent interview with The Oklahoman, Schreibvogel said he would file for bankruptcy protection because he didn't have the roughly $1 million the judge in Florida ordered him to pay the owners of Big Cat Rescue.

Schreibvogel and Big Cat Rescue founder Carole Baskin have been publicly feuding for years over their philosophical differences on the exotic pet trade.


by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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