Exotic animal park employee stable after being mauled by tiger

Oct. 5, 2013 at 6:59 PM
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WYNNEWOOD, Okla., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A tiger mauled an employee at an exotic animal park in Wynnewood, Okla., Saturday when she stuck her arm into the big cat's wire cage, authorities said.

Garvin County sheriff's deputies said they believed the unidentified G.W. Exotic Animal Park employee lost her arm, KWTV-TV reported. The Sheriff's Office said the woman in stable condition after being airlifted to the Oklahoma University Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

NewsOK.com and Oklahoma City's KFOR-TV reported the adult male tiger grabbed the woman's arm about midmorning when she put her hand in the cage and the goose down jacket she was wearing prevented her from pulling it back out in time to avoid being injured.

The news outlets said the animal park said in a release that the incident was the result of employee error and a violation of safety protocols. The tiger would not be euthanized, the release said.

Garvin County Undersheriff Jim Mullett said in a statement witnesses said the woman appeared to be trying to either place or remove a lock on the tiger's cage, USA Today reported.

Park owner Joe Schreibvogel described the attack in a post on Facebook: "She was wearing a large goose down jacket which got bunched up inside the cage wire not allowing her to get her hand back outside the cage wire fast enough and the tiger grabbed her hand pulling her left arm through a 4-inch square hole.

"During the entire event, she was awake and saying it was her fault and plans to return to work."

Mullett said the park, located about 40 miles south of Oklahoma City, would be closed "until further notice and the tiger will be held in quarantine until the investigation is complete," USA Today said.

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