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'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

The suit involved Schreibvogel's use of logos and images that were similar to those created and owned by the Florida animal park.

In the suit, attorneys for Big Cat Rescue alleged Schreibvogel and his associates launched a “counter-campaign of disinformation, misinformation and disparagement” aimed at damaging the credibility of the Florida organization.

The sanctuary's lawyers claimed Schreibvogel used a logo and other artistic elements “confusingly similar” to materials trademarked by Big Cat Rescue.

Schreibvogel admits he did model a logo for Big Cat Rescue Entertainment — one of the many businesses he's formed over the years — after the Florida sanctuary's design, but said he didn't realize it was wrong to do so.

“We thought we were in the clear,” he said. “We thought they only owned ‘Big Cat Rescue' with a cat jumping over it.”

Schreibvogel, known for performing magic shows and bringing tiger cubs to shopping malls for paid photographs with the public, said a new company is running the G.W. Zoo. He said he will continue to house his animals at the facility, just off Interstate 35 in Wynnewood.

“They're my animals ... I'm still licensed to exhibit,” he said. “By law, I do not have to be a (business) to exhibit.”

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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