A zookeeper named Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as “Joe Exotic,” is facing some serious time behind bars…
According to ABC Action News, police arrested the man for hiring a hitman to kill Carole Baskin, the CEO of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa.
The reason for his hatred of Baskin is because of her efforts to get his travelling big cat show shut down. Baskin explained the mission of Big Cats Rescue, saying:
“A significant part of our mission has been to stop mistreatment and exploitation of big cats at roadside zoos, particularly those who rip tiger cubs from their mothers at birth to charge the public to pet and take photos with them.”
As it turns out, Maldonado-Passage’s show was one of the more notorious for bad conditions. After Baskin successfully had some of his shows cancelled and won a lawsuit against him, “Joe Exotic” began getting violent. He started sending online threats, and even sent a video of himself shooting a doll dressed like Baskin. Baskin explained:
“I have received multiple death threats over the years, including at one point a number of snakes placed in my mailbox. According to the FBI, animal abuse is highly correlated with human-to-human violence.”
Unfortunately, things did escalate to insane new heights. Maldonado-Passage allegedly paid an unnamed person $3,000 to carry out the murder. He was also going to pay thousands more once they finished the deed. However, he didn’t stop with just one hitman. He later attempted to pay another person to kill Baskin, but this person was actually an undercover FBI agent.
Joseph Maldonado-Passage is currently facing up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
We hope Carole Baskin is doing okay following this scary incident.
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