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Carole Baskin is back in the news. Who was Carole Baskin? Here’s the ultimate guide on everything we know about Baskin herself.

Life before Big Cat Rescue? The ultimate Carole Baskin history

Carole Baskin is back in the news. She won Joe Exotic’s former GW Zoo in a federal court hearing from current owner Jeff Lowe. That’s the good news for her. The bad news is that during the re-opening of her husband’s murder case, a Florida Sherriff alleged that Baskin forged her husband Don’s signature on his will. 

Between the rumors, she killed her husband and fed him to the tigers, before Tiger King hit Netflix, who was Carole Baskin? Here’s the ultimate guide on everything we know. 

Early childhood

Carole Baskin was born Carole Lewis in 1961 on an airbase in Texas. From an early age, she loved cats. She had early dreams of rescuing cats and becoming a veterinarian, but decided against it when she learned she would have to euthanize animals. 

Runaway years

Her childhood took a dark turn when she was sexually assaulted by a group of boys at fourteen years old. Coming from a conservative religious family, Carole’s parents did not support her after the assault. She dropped out of high school and ran away with a coworker from the local roller rink and began hitchhiking. 

She travelled between Florida and Maine with a cat she picked up, until she settled in Tampa at seventeen. She worked in a department store and made extra money breeding bobcats. 

When Carole met Don

Carole Baskin met her first husband, Michael Murdock, at the department store she worked at. They had a daughter together in 1980. However, the marriage was abusive. In 1981, Carole threw a potato at Murdock’s head when he was attacking her. She met her second husband at nineteen while fleeing Murdock in the street – Don Lewis. 

Carole Baskin and Don Lewis, who was a multi-millionaire, began a relationship before divorcing their spouses and marrying each other in 1991. Their marriage wasn’t conventional, let alone perfect. Don had several mistresses and would fly to Columbia to see them, reportedly while Carole was menstruating. 

Do bobcats make good pets? 

After Carole Baskin married Don, she wanted to adopt bobcats. After visiting a fur farm to see about purchasing kittens, Carole adopted all seventeen to save them from becoming coats. Her rescue started Wildlife on Easy Street, which would become Big Cat Rescue. 

The will and disappearance of Don Lewis 

After Don Lewis’ disappearance in 1997, Carole Baskin received the principal share, including Big Cat Rescue and their house in Florida. Don’s will reportedly cut out his family, including his children. The will also featured a strange line about taking effect in the case of his disappearance. 

Don went missing in 1997 under suspicious circumstances. He filed a restraining order against Carole Baskin before flying to Costa Rica and not returning. Reports claimed he had early stages of dementia. Others claimed Carole’s relationship with him was volatile. Famously, on Tiger King, Joe Exotic accused her multiple times of killing Don. 


Are the tigers really snacking?

The contention around Don Lewis’ will began long before Tiger King was even a thought. The presentation of Carole Baskin killing her husband and feeding him to the tigers took on a whole new life thanks to the documentary. With the investigation re-activated, only time will tell how this plays out.

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