Animal Sanctuary Volunteer Attacked By Tiger
Last Edited: Sunday, 03 Aug 2008, 11:06 PM CDT
Created: Sunday, 03 Aug 2008, 7:11 PM CDT
By; Sean Conroy
An 800 pound Tiger is dead, shot to death by its handler after it hops a fence and bites a volunteer worker at a Warren County wildlife sanctuary. It happened Sunday morning at the Wesa-A-Geh-Ya Sanctuary off of Route A near Truxton.
The 25-year-old man was preparing to feed the big cat and cleaning out its empty cage when the 9-12 year old Tiger hopped a fence and attacked the volunteer worker. That man was air-lifted to St. Louis and is expected to survive but with a massive wound to his leg, specifically his calf.
The initial call for help mentioned a Tiger but when deputies arrived they say witnesses including the victim and one of the founders said it was pit bull that attacked the man. When the main founder Kent Smith arrived he shot and killed the cat and he tells FOX 2 he made sure that the deputies knew the truth.
Sheriff Kevin Harrison says there were inconsistencies from the start and it was difficult finding the truth. Deputies seized the animal's body as evidence and will forward their findings on to the prosecutor to decide on charges.
The Wesa-A-Geh-Ya Sanctuary has provided a home for Tigers, Lions and Wolves for two decades. The last decade founder and operator Kent Smith tells FOX 2 have been rough, riddled with what he calls are attacks from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Via its website PETA officials say the conditions and cages at Smith's sanctuary are inhumane. Smith tearfully defended his work and operation saying he provides a place for Big Cats who have no where else to go and he says all he is trying to do is save these animals from being destroyed.
Wesa-A-Geh-Ya, which Smith says means "Cat Woman" in Cherokee is home to dozens of Tigers, one published report puts the number at 44.
While Sheriff Harrison says this was an accident and the first of its kind at the place he says it also illustrates the danger the sanctuary poses to the public. Harrison says the sanctuary is legal under state laws but county commissioners are looking into their own regulations which would force changes at the Wesa-A-Geh-Ya.
http://www.myfoxstl.com/myfox/pages/Hom ... geId=1.1.1
Bless the Bullys