The Alleged Target Of 'Joe Exotic's' Murder-For-Hire Plot Speaks Out
OKLAHOMA CITY - The alleged target of a murder-for-hire plot is speaking out about some of the threats she says she and her husband have endured for years.
Carole Baskin and her husband Howard are the founders of Big Cat Rescue, a sanctuary in Florida. They say for more than 20 years they've fought to shut down road side zoos.
Up until his arrest Friday, Carole Baskin claims to have been the bane of Joe Maldonado's existence.
“I was surprised he didn't want to do it himself, but I wasn't surprised he would try and follow through,” Carole Baskin said.
She says over the years Joe threatened her life more than a dozen times, many of the threats being posted in a series of disturbing videos.
“For Carole and all her friends that are watching, if you think I was nuts before, I’m the most dangerous exotic animal owner on this planet, and before you bring me down, it is my belief that you will stop breathing, got that?”
In another video Joe Exotic dresses up a blow-up doll in Carole’s likeness, before shooting it’s head off.
“Want to know why Carole Baskin better never ever, ever see me face to face, ever, ever again,” Maldonado said.
“I think he thought if he got crazy enough in his actions toward me, I would see he was serious and I would shut up, but I will not be bullied,” Baskin said.
Baskin says Joe's hatred of her is rooted in their opposite stances on big cats.
“We refer to them as road side zoos or tiger mills where they are constantly breeding where as a sanctuary would never breed the animals or take them into malls,” said Baskins.
She says for years she and her husband Howard have worked to educate the public---in hopes of putting people like Joe Exotic out of business.
“If we can continue to educate people that these cub petting operations are just supporting a cruelty, not conservation--if people don’t go to pet the cubs, they're not going to breed the cubs to be pet,” said Howard Baskin.