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Florida Man Mauled By Leopard After Paying For 'Full-Contact Experience'

Florida Man Mauled By Leopard After Paying For 'Full-Contact Experience'

A man in Florida has been mauled by a black leopard in a savage attack after he paid $150 for a 'full-contact experience' with the dangerous animal.

Dwight Turner required multiple surgeries after he was attacked by a leopard at a home in Davie, near Fort Lauderdale on 31 August after paying $150 (£115) to touch, lay and rub the belly of the big cat, Local 10 News reported.

Upon entering the leopard's enclosure in the backyard zoo, Turner was mauled by the leopard, with his injuries so severe his scalp was 'hanging from his head and his right ear was torn in half,' the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) Commission said.

The 50-year-old reportedly spent a week in the emergency room following the incident and subsequent surgeries, his attorneys said.

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The owner of the leopard, Michael Poggi, 50, was charged with allowing full contact with an extremely dangerous animal and was cited for maintaining captive wildlife in an unsafe condition.

Victim Dwight Turner's bandaged head. Credit: Local 10/WPLG
Victim Dwight Turner's bandaged head. Credit: Local 10/WPLG

The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida have since condemned the owner for the having the leopard in captivity in his home, saying the unsafe environment endangered both humans and animals, campaigns coordinator Nick Atwood said.

He said: "It is far too common for small zoos and quasi-sanctuaries in Florida to sell photo ops, play sessions or other 'interactions' with exotic animals. Both people and animals are put in harm's way when the public comes into direct contact with captive wild animals."

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According to a Facebook page and YouTube channel reportedly run by Poggi, he runs an animal sanctuary for rare and endangered animals, with authorities confirming he is licensed to have the leopard.

Authorities say Poggi admitted wrongdoing to police in charging people for contact experiences with the leopard.

Michael Poggi with the leopard. Credit: Local 10/WPLG
Michael Poggi with the leopard. Credit: Local 10/WPLG

Earlier this year, a zookeeper in Madrid was rushed to hospital with a head injury, two broken arms and chest trauma with multiple fractures after having been attacked by a gorilla.

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The 46-year-old keeper was taken to Madrid Clinical Hospital after being injured by a 29-year-old Male Western Lowland Gorilla called Malabo.

The zoo said in a statement: "The events took place this morning, around 10am when a keeper with 19 years of experience at the zoo accessed the indoor facilities for the usual breakfast routine, cleaning and preparing the facilities.

"Upon entering a secure area with a triple door, the caretaker met Malabo, a 29-year-old male gorilla, who had accessed it. The reasons why the animal was able to access the area are being investigated internally. However, the judicial investigation will determine the exact details.

"The Zoo team managed to remove the animal and later, the veterinary team anesthetised the animal with a tranquiliser dart, which was transferred to its interior bedroom and at the moment, it is calm."

Featured Image Credit: Local 10/WPLG

Topics: Florida, Animals

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