Zoo worker attacked by tiger in OK

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Reported by: Shae Rozzi
Updated: 10/07/2013 8:01 pm Published: 10/06/2013 8:55 am

Around 10:20 a.m., Saturday, the Garvin County Dispatch received a call in reference to an accident at the G.W. Exotic Animal Park near Wynnewood, Okla.. Emergency medical service was dispatched along with Garvin County Sheriff's Office.

Upon arrival, deputies and EMS workers learned a female zoo employee was conducting her rounds, which included taking care of the tigers. Witnesses told deputies the employee had placed her arm into the tiger cage to either place or remove a lock on a smaller cage, where the tiger was located. At that time, the tiger bit into the employee's arm. The employee was unable to remove her arm fast enough, but the G.W. staff did manage to get the tiger off of the employee and render aid until EMS arrived. The female employee suffered severe injuries.

The female worker was transported to Pauls Valley Hospital and was later airlifted to the OU Medical Center. She went into surgery Saturday after the incident, and her current condition is unknown.

This investigation is being documented by Garvin County Sheriff's Office and the Oklahoma Wildlife Department.

On Sunday, the Humane Society of the United States released a statement in regards to the incident at the Oklahoma animal park, stating: "We warned last year after our undercover investigation that G.W. Exotics may have more dangerous exotic animals than any other roadside zoo in the nation. At this facility, people are allowed to play with and handle some of the world's most lethal carnivores."

The Humane Society released information in regards to other incidents that have occurred at this Oklahoma Exotic Animal Park. The Humane Society investigation revealed three incidents in 2011 involving tigers at the G.W. zoo. On one occasion, a tiger bit a young girl on the leg. The next incident happened with a tiger cub scratched a young child while he was posing for a picture with the animal. The third happened incident in 2011 when a 20-week-old tiger knocked down and bit a small child.

The Humane Society also stated they are "..calling on the Department of Agriculture to prohibit public contact with tigers and other dangerous wildlife (and) urging the Oklahoma legislature to finally prohibit the private possession of dangerous wild animals. Substandard roadside zoos like G.W. Exotic Animal Park have no business possess these animals."

The G.W. Exotic Animal Park will be closed until further notice and the tiger will be held in quarantine until the investigation is complete.

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