A man who paid to spend time alone with a black leopard, purportedly as part of the “entertainment” services offered by a South Florida breeder of rare animals, was “savagely” attacked by the animal and had to undergo multiple surgeries for serious head injuries.
Dwight Turner, 50, paid $ 150 for the “experience” at the end of last August but he ended up with part of the scalp ripped off and half an ear “hanging down”, as published on Wednesday by Local 10 television.
The terrible attack occurred in the backyard of a house in the city of Davie, in Broward County, adjacent to Miami-Dade, where a man raises several “rare and endangered” animals.
The man who lives there was identified as Michael Poggi, who according to his personal website offers animals to accompany parties, birthdays and even television and film advertisements.
In one of the services, “Exotic Animal Parties”, the company offers “an extraordinarily fun and educational experience at parties in Broward County, Naples, Coral Springs and surrounding areas.”
“We have a wide range of exotic animals that are well behaved and fun …”, states the website.
In a video on YouTube, a pair of black swans is shown, while in photos on Facebook, Poggi promotes the sale of baby squirrel monkeys.
A report by researchers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) indicated that, once Turner entered the compound, the leopard attacked him.
According to the company’s announcement, it was a “full contact” experience with Poggi’s black leopard, which included “playing with him, rubbing his belly and taking pictures.”
Heading his Facebook profile, a photograph of this animal breeder is shown next to the feline, looking at the camera.
The authorities indicated that Poggi was accused of allowing full contact with an extremely dangerous animal and required to keep captive wildlife in unsafe conditions.
They added, however, that the man is licensed to shelter the leopard.