Candy Couser, a long term volunteer at Big Cat Rescue, owned by Carole Baskin, had her arm nearly torn off after reaching into a cage during feeding time.
The attack occurred at 8:30 a.m. after Kouser reached into the cage to open the door, and was then grabbed by a tiger named Kimba. According to WTSP-TV, another worker at the rescue heard the commotion and ran towards Couser, when Kimba finally let go. A nurse was able to help stop some of the bleeding by using a belt as a tourniquet. The ambulance arrived 15-20 minutes later and reports say that Couser is facing serious arm injuries.
Big Cat Rescue issued a statement regarding the incident. In it they shared:
"It is against our protocols for anyone to stick any part of their body into a cage with a cat in it. Kimba grabbed her arm and nearly tore it off at the shoulder. Candy was still conscious and insisted that she did not want Kimba Tiger to come to any harm for this mistake. He is being placed in quarantine for the next 30 days as a precaution, but was just acting normal due to the presence of food and the opportunity. All of the volunteers and staff on site today met to discuss what happened. Carole reminded everyone that this sort of tragedy can happen in the blink of an eye and that we cannot relax our guard for a second around these dangerous cats. This happened on the day our federal bill to ban cub handling and private possession comes to the House floor for a vote.The fact that, despite our intense safety protocols and excellent record of safety, an injury like this can occur just confirms the inherent danger in dealing with these animals and why we need the Big Cat Public Safety Act to eliminate having them untracked in backyards around the country and ending up in sanctuaries where wonderful people like Candy Couser have committed themselves to providing care for those discarded by the pay to play industry."
An investigation has also been opened by The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. A spokesperson from the agency shared:
"We have received a report of an incident that took place at Big Cat Rescue this morning and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Captive Wildlife section is investigating. We will provide additional information as it becomes available."
There have been no updates made in accordance to Cousar's current condition. We are wishing her a speedy and healthy recovery!
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