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Franklin safari up for sale, owner indicted on federal charges with Tiger King cast member

Jason Clay, owner of Franklin Drive Thru Safari, has been indicted on the charge of trafficking of a young chimpanzee
Posted at 8:16 PM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-15 21:16:02-05

FRANKLIN, Texas — The Franklin Drive Thru Safari has been a favored family stop for many Texans over the years. But now the safari is set for big changes.

The safari is now up for sale – that's the land and animals. This comes just five months after the owner of the safari, Jason Clay, was federally indicted on charges of wildlife trafficking, alongside Netflix's Tiger King cast member 'Doc' Antle.

Texas Ranch Sales, LLC listed the 240-acre property plus all its animals for sale by owner Jason Clay less than two weeks ago. The Franklin Drive Thru Safari posted to Facebook on Monday, stressing the drive-through experience is still operational and ready to receive guests at this time.

Keith Payne, the listing agent through Texas Ranch Sales, told KRHD that Clay wants the animals to be kept together and for the safari to remain as is. KRHD asked about the possibility that the animals could be sold off to game ranches.

“So (Clay would) like to sell it all as one, but yes, as far as if they were, absolutely," Payne said. "I mean, a big game ranch could definitely buy the giraffes or any one of the animals off the park.”

Clay’s activity with animals has come into question. In June, he was indicted for Federal Wildlife Trafficking, charged with illegally selling a juvenile chimp using falsified documents, alongside Doc Antle and other co-defendants.

KRHD has found no direct link between the sale of the safari and Clay’s federal charges.

KRHD asked Keith Payne about the legality of the sales of animals currently being offered. Payne affirmed that the safari's animals should all be available for lawful sale.

"[Clay] has done right by everything he’s told me and, you know... we’re good as far as I know," Payne said.

Laura Hagen, captive wildlife director of the Humane Society of the U.S., told KRHD that she views the Franklin Drive Thru Safari as a ‘roadside zoo,’ where she believes animals are not getting the life they deserve.

“Broadly, places like Franklin Drive Thru Safari are simply roadside zoos - shoddy roadside zoos," she said. "These are not places that advance conservation or an understanding of endangered species.”

Additionally, Hagen fears the possibility these animals will end up sold to owners who would not enrich their lives. She said Texas has few laws regarding exotic animals that are not big cats, bears or apes.

“For other animals, there are almost no regulations in Texas," she stated. "You will find farmers that have a giraffe on the property or non-human primates.”

KRHD reached out to the safari for comment, both over the phone and online, and has not heard back at this time.

To view Texas Ranch Sales, LLC's promotional video relaying animals on the property, visit the following link:

Franklin Drive Thru Safari | 240± Acres in Robertson County, Texas - YouTube