Big cat injures Wagoner sanctuary volunteer

BY MICHAEL KIMBALL Modified: October 30, 2008 at 1:21 am •  Published: October 30, 2008
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BROKEN ARROW — A 1,000-pound cat attacked a volunteer Wednesday at a Wagoner County animal sanctuary, officials said. The cat was identified as a liger, which is a cross between a male lion and a female tiger.

Peter Getz, 32, of Stillwater was airlifted to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa in critical condition with wounds to his chest and neck, a Broken Arrow Fire Department spokesman said. A hospital spokeswoman would not release his condition.

The attack occurred just before noon at Safari’s Interactive Animal Sanctuary, 26881 E 58, east of Broken Arrow, Wagoner County sheriff’s Deputy Eugene Smith said. Getz was trying to feed the liger when it attacked.

Calls to the animal sanctuary went to voicemail Wednesday. The message says "a volunteer had an injury. Due to the emotional strain of the situation, Safari’s will be closed until further notice.” The sanctuary did not return a call seeking comment.

The liger, named Rocky, weighed an estimated 1,000 pounds, according to an undated video from Tulsa television station KOTV-6 posted on the sanctuary’s Web site.

In 2003, a bear cub attacked a handler’s arms and legs at Safari’s Interactive Animal Sanctuary.