Tiger King Joe Exotic's niece claims he froze dead tiger cubs to sell

EXCLUSIVE: Tiger King star’s niece says Netflix didn’t fully expose her uncle’s evils, claiming he froze dead cubs to sell to taxidermists and kept videos of people performing sex acts on his zoo animals – as she shares his personal family photos

  • Chealsi Putman, the niece of controversial Netflix’s star Joe Exotic, is exposing all his dark family secrets in an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV 
  • ‘You can see glimpses of his evil persona but in the real-life Joe is 100 times worse. I want people to know who the Real Joe Exotic is,’ she said
  • Putman did odd jobs, working on and off for Joe from 1999 until 2017 when he owned the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma
  • She admits she helped the FBI catch Joey, 57,  when he was on the run in Florida, wanted for the murder for hire plot to kill his arch nemesis Carole Baskin
  • Putman, 31, lifted the lid on claims Joe froze tiger cubs in order to sell them to taxidermists and had videos of people performing sex acts on animals at the zoo
  • Joe allegedly not only illegally sold tiger cubs, he also sold baby monkeys, according to Putman
  • Once he shot five darts into a mother monkey until she dozed off so he could pry the baby monkey away from its arms
  • She also claims Joe liked to film his partners having sex with other men, at times participating himself

The niece of controversial Netflix’s star Joe Exotic is exposing all his dark family secrets that go well beyond the revelations in the blockbuster Netflix series in an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV.

Chealsi Putman says behind her uncle’s over the top persona portrayed on TV lies an evil conniving person who tries to take advantage of anyone who crosses his path.

‘In the Tiger King Netflix series, you can see glimpses of his evil persona but in real-life Joe is 100 times worse. I want people to know who the real Joe Exotic is, not the one you’ve seen on TV,’ Putman said.

The docuseries follows the unbelievable twists and turns of the life of Joe Exotic, who used to run Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma. The 57-year-old is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for 17 counts of animal cruelty and for conspiring to murder his arch nemesis, Florida-based big cat lover Carole Baskin. 

Putman, a 31-year old mother of three children, is also revealing for the first time how she helped the FBI catch her uncle when he was on the run in Florida, and lifts the lid on claims that he froze dead tiger cubs in order to sell them to taxidermists and had videos of people performing sex acts on animals at the zoo. 

Putman, whose mother is Joe’s youngest sister, believes Joe initially started out as a ‘good guy and genuinely cared for the animals,’ but toward the end he only saw them as a money-making venture, claiming he even became abusive toward them. 

The niece of controversial Netflix’s star Joe Exotic exposes his dark family secrets in an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV

Putman credits Joe’s parents, her grandparents, Shirley and Frances, in raising her, and claims she repeatedly saw Joe conning them, adding: ‘My grandparents were Joe’s personal slush fund. Putman explained Joe’s parents had a lot money from Shirley’s side of the family, from owning land in Kansas and leasing out farm equipment.’ Pictured: Joe Exotic (right) with his family in December 1987

Netflix also glossed over Joe having an adult son, Putman said. In the early 1980s, Joe worked as a chief of police of a small town in Eastvale, Texas, (pictured) which is about 20 miles north of Dallas. At the time Joe lived with his then girlfriend Kim, who had his son Brandon Chappell, now 38 and with three kids of his own, at some point while living there

Putman (pictured with Joe around 1994), whose mother is Joe’s youngest sister, believes Joe initially started out as a ‘good guy and genuinely cared for the animals,’ but toward the end he only saw them as a money-making venture, claiming he even became abusive toward them

Putman, a 31-year old mother of three children, is also revealing for the first time how she helped the FBI catch her uncle when he was on the run in Florida, and lifts the lid on claims that he froze dead tiger cubs in order to sell them to taxidermists and had videos of people performing sex acts on animals at the zoo

Putman did odd jobs for Joe – cleaning the animal cages, running the cash register and bookkeeping – working on and off for Joe from 1999 until 2017 when he owned the zoo.

‘Our relationship was up and down, mainly because I wouldn’t put up with his bulls**t’. 

Putman said: ‘I’ve personally witnessed Joe spray a tiger with a fire extinguisher, not out of a safety or for a life saving reason, but because the tiger didn’t react the way Joe had wanted it to.’

Joe also sold countless baby tigers illegally, too many to count according to Putman. 

‘He would either take cash under the table for the sale of the tiger or if someone sent a check, it would be made out to another person, or if the money was wired to a store, it would be in another person’s name. 

‘Joe always attempted to distance himself from any illegal activity, but he had no problem involving his employees in it.’ 

She claims when a tiger cub died, Joe would freeze it, saying he was involved in research with Texas A&M University but Putman said she never saw any evidence of that and believes he sold them to private individuals to get stuffed. 

Putman did odd jobs for Joe – cleaning the animal cages, running the cash register and bookkeeping – working on and off for Joe from 1999 until 2017 when he owned the zoo. Pictured: Joe with goats Billy and Bobby in July 1978 

Netflix’s docuseries follows the unbelievable twists and turns of Joe’s life, who used to run Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. Pictured: Joe in May 1978

 Putman said: ‘I’ve personally witnessed Joe spray a tiger with a fire extinguisher, not out of a safety or for a life saving reason, but because the tiger didn’t react the way Joe had wanted it to.’ Pictured: Joe at a rodeo in 1977

The 57-year-old is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for 17 counts of animal cruelty and for conspiring to murder his arch nemesis, Florida-based big cat lover Carole Baskin. Pictured: Joe at five years old sleeping with a dog in 1968 

Pictured: Joe feeding goats in 1979 

Pictured: Joe with what appears to be a bear in 1979

Pictured: Joe with elk he hunted in 1979 

‘Over the years there must have been at least 10 tiger cubs that he froze. I have no idea what happened to them, they would just disappear.’  

Putman claims one time he asked her to take a dead tiger cub up to Oklahoma City to a taxidermist to get it stuffed, but she said she refused.

Joe allegedly not only illegally sold tiger cubs, he also sold baby monkeys, according to Putman. 

‘A few years ago, at the zoo we had a monkey who just had a baby, Joe wanted to take the baby monkey away from it’s mother so he could sell it. 

‘The mother monkey naturally wouldn’t let Joe take the baby away from her so, he decided to ”dart” the mother monkey. 

;He was going to shoot a tranquilizer dart into the mother monkey so he could take the newborn baby away from her. 

‘Joe shot one dart into the monkey, but after a few minutes the tranquilizer hadn’t worked, so he shot another dart into the mother, and another. 

‘He shot a total of five darts into the mother until she dozed off so he could pry the baby monkey away from its arms. I was disgusted by his actions, he’s lucky the mother monkey didn’t die,’ Putman said.

Joe also sold countless baby tigers illegally, too many to count according to Putman 

Joe allegedly not only illegally sold tiger cubs, he also sold baby monkeys, according to Putman. ‘A few years ago, at the zoo we had a monkey who just had a baby, Joe wanted to take the baby monkey away from it’s mother so he could sell it. He shot a total of five darts into the mother until she dosed off so he could pry the baby monkey away from its arms’ 

As an example of how Joe was always ready to make a quick buck, Putman said he convinced a local Dollar General store to donate dog and cat food to feed his circus bears for life. Putman said Joe only fed some of it to the bears. The rest that was in good condition, he resold to various people for profit

As an example of how Joe was always ready to make a quick buck, Putman said he convinced a local Dollar General store to donate dog and cat food to feed his circus bears for life.

In the Netflix documentary, Joe was shown using expired meat that had been donated by local stores and meant to feed his animals in the meat for his pizza restaurant. 

Putman said in the case of the pet food, Joe only fed some of it to the bears. The rest that was in good condition, he resold to various people for profit. 

She said: ‘There wasn’t much Joe wouldn’t do for a dollar.’ 

In seedier allegations, Putman claims there were videos of certain people performing sex acts on some of the animals at the zoo. 

Putman clarified she never personally saw any of the videos, saying: ‘I didn’t want to see them, I just heard about them.’

She also claims Joe liked to film his partners having sex with other men, at times participating himself.  

Joe used to have ‘piercing parties’ at the zoo, where employees would come and drink and get piercings. Joe often bragged about having his own ‘Prince Albert’ piercing the size of a padlock. 

Netflix also glossed over Joe having an adult son, Putman said. 

In the early 1980s, Joe worked as a chief of police of a small town in Eastvale, Texas, which is about 20 miles north of Dallas. 

At the time Joe lived with his then girlfriend Kim, who had his son Brandon Chappell, now 38 and with three kids of his own, at some point while living there. 

 ‘Joe was in and out of Brandon’s life when he was growing up, at one point just a few years ago Brandon and his then wife, both worked at the zoo with Joe,’ Putman said.

‘Joe would go around telling everyone this was his son, he made no secret about it.  Brandon was even in a few scenes in the Netflix show.’  

She claims things soured between the father and son when Joe allegedly wanted Brandon’s wife to do some fraudulent activities with the zoo’s books and checking account, causing an argument between Joe and Brandon.

Eventually, Brandon packed up with his family and returned to Texas.    

Putman says Joe’s parents, her grandparents, Shirley and Frances, raised her, and claims she repeatedly saw Joe conning them, adding: ‘My grandparents were Joe’s personal slush fund.

Netflix also glossed over Joe having an adult son, Putman said. In the early 1980s, Joe worked as a chief of police of a small town in Eastvale, Texas, which is about 20 miles north of Dallas. At the time Joe lived with his then girlfriend Kim, who had his son Brandon Chappell, now 38 and with three kids of his own, at some point while living there. Pictured: A young Joe on vacation 

 In seedier allegations, Putman claims she’s heard there were videos of certain people performing sex acts on some of the animals at the zoo. Putman clarified she never personally saw any of the videos, saying: ‘I didn’t want to see them, I just heard about them’

Putman explained Joe’s parents had a lot money from Shirley’s side of the family, from owning land in Kansas and leasing out farm equipment.

She said her grandmother ‘would receive monthly rental checks and that was the only time Joe would stop by their house was to pick up the checks. He would deposit some of the then in their bank accounts and others he would tell his parents that he cashed them and would pay them back later which he never did.’

Shirley died in September 2019, approximately one year after Joe was arrested. While incarcerated Joe never called nor wrote to her, Putman said.

His father Frances suffers from dementia and long-term PTSD and is currently house in a local VA hospital. 

She added: ‘I don’t think he ever really cared for them he saw them as pawns in his game, most of the bills, policies and loans for the zoo where in his parent’s name.

All of these factors led to Putman’s decision to help the FBI track Joe down in September 2018. 

Joe’s mother Shirley died in September 2019, approximately one year after Joe was arrested. While incarcerated Joe never called nor wrote to her, Putman said. His father Frances suffers from dementia and long-term PTSD and is currently house in a local VA hospital

Putman added: ‘I don’t think he ever really cared for them he saw them as pawns in his game, most of the bills, policies and loans for the zoo where in his parent’s name’.’ Pictured: Joe’s parents. Pictured: Joe’s parents Shirley and Frances

Pictured: Putman as a little girl and G.W. Zoo worker Ernesto at the G.W. Zoo

As it’s told in the Netflix docuseries , Joe left the zoo in early 2018 after his one-time business partner, Jeffrey Lowe confronted him over some missing money.

But Putman says that’s not the entire story.

‘Joe had been planning on leaving the zoo for some time, unbeknownst to almost everyone. He started to sell everything he could get his hands on in early May 2018. He knew the Feds were onto him and he wanted to get out.

‘He told my grandmother on more than one occasion that he was being set up and some people were out to get him and frame him. 

‘So, in the middle of the night Joe and [his husband] Dillon packed up the rest of their belongings and moved to a house in Yukon, Oklahoma for a month, at the time the only people who knew Joe’s whereabouts were his parents Shirley and Frances.’

Then in July 2018, the couple left Yukon, Oklahoma. Shirley thought he had fled to Texas or Alabama, but no one knew exactly where Joe was hiding out.

In September of that year, the FBI contacted Putman to ask for her help in locating Joe because they had a warrant for his arrest.

Putman says she knew her grandmother was still in contact with Joe because he would call her on her house phone from a number that belonged to his husband, Dillon.

All of these factors led to Putman’s decision to help the FBI track Joe down in September 2018

Putman says she knew her grandmother was still in contact with Joe because he would call her on her house phone from a number that belonged to his husband, Dillon (pictured together)


Days later Putman says she nicked Joe’s phone number from her grandmother’s burner phone and gave it to the FBI. Then on September 5th, Joe called his mother from his cell phone and Putman happened to be with her. She contacted the FBI to tell them that Joe was talking to his mother at that moment. The FBI was able to ping Joe’s cell number and two days later he was arrested in Florida

Then one day, her grandmother’s cell phone rang. Putman said she didn’t know she had a cell phone and learned Joe had bought his mother a burner phone that no one knew about to communicate with her.

Days later Putman says she nicked Joe’s phone number from her grandmother’s burner phone and gave it to the FBI.

Then on September 5th, Joe called his mother from his cell phone and Putman happened to be with her. 

She contacted the FBI to tell them that Joe was talking to his mother at that moment.

Putman has no regrets on helping the FBI locate Joe, saying: ‘I’d do it again, he needed to be caught’

The FBI was able to ping Joe’s cell number and two days later he was arrested in Florida.

Putman has no regrets on helping the FBI locate Joe, saying: ‘I’d do it again, he needed to be caught.’   

Putman said she is disappointed about people who are making her uncle into a cult figure and jumping on the ‘Free Joe Exotic’ bandwagon.  

She said he is evil, preying on the weak and taking advantage of people who are down and out in their life. 

Putman said Joe deserves every year of his 22-year prison sentence, claiming he has done many more illegal things. She added: ‘If it would up to me, I would have sentenced him to life behind bars, he wouldn’t have ever seen the light of day.’ 

‘Joe’s a liar so I was worried that the jury may fall for the show that he puts on, but fortunately they saw through his BS and convicted him of all of the charges.’

Joe could be looking at more time behind bars because Putman says she been told Joe is being investigated by the IRS and for campaign fraud when he unsuccessful ran for Governor of Oklahoma in 2016.

She hopes that the celebs like Cardi B and others who have jumped on the Free Joe bandwagon really investigate the person they are supporting because Joe is an evil, maniacal person.

And for any call to pardon him ‘makes them look like idiots.’

Putman has not spoken to Joe in almost two years, but she has one thing to say to him, ‘I hope you rot in hell.’ He’s caused a lot of pain to a lot of people. 

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