A woman was injured by tigers at her Moorpark animal sanctuary Saturday during an event put on to thank donors and supporters of her conservation group.
During the Saturday event, sanctuary founder Patty Perry fell after a Bengal tiger wrapped its paws around her legs, then was jumped on by another tiger, her friend Michael Bradbury said, recounting how Perry had described to him what had happened.
“They were playing with her,” said Bradbury, who also represents Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Inc. as an attorney. “It was not anything more serious than that. But when you’ve got a 600-pounder that’s playing with you, that’s a little different than your house cat.”
A crew from the Ventura County Fire Department had been invited to the event and was there when the woman was injured. “Luckily, they were able to render aid,” said Mike Des Forges, a public information officer with the department.
Des Forges declined to describe the extent of her injuries but said that Perry was taken to a trauma center after firefighters got the call around 1 p.m. Saturday.
Bradbury said Perry had some lacerations on the side of her head and some puncture wounds on her neck, but “nothing life threatening.” She was still in the hospital as of early Sunday afternoon, he said.
“It’s never happened before,” Bradbury said Sunday, adding that Perry regularly interacted with the tigers and he had watched that many times. “She’s raised the tigers since they were cubs.”
A Ventura County Animal Services field supervisor said he had little information on the incident as of Sunday morning.
Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Inc. is a nonprofit founded more than a decade ago to educate the public about conservation. Its annual revenue was just over $1.1 million in 2017, according to state filings. Bradbury said the Moorpark facility has some 50 animals on site, including leopards, birds of prey and zebras.
Its website describes its tigers and other wildcats as “animal ambassadors” that serve as living examples of lessons. Many of the animals, which come to the center from private individuals, veterinary hospitals and other sources, need rehabilitation because of problems stemming from an uneducated owner, the website states.
“The experience of being ‘up close and personal’ with a wild animal is something that will never leave one’s mind,” the group states on its website. “It creates a personal responsibility towards stewardship.”
Bradbury praised Perry and her facility for saving the lives of injured and endangered animals. When she gets out of the hospital, Perry “wants to get back to work and back with her animals,” Bradbury said, “including the tigers.”