MOORPARK, Calif. (KABC/CNN) - The founder of a California animal sanctuary was seriously injured while in the cage with several tigers during a special event for donors.
Wildlife Environmental Conservation founder Patty Perry suffered several cuts and puncture wounds in the Saturday incident. She remains hospitalized as officials investigate.
Michael Bradbury, Perry’s friend and WEC attorney, says Perry went into the cage with the four tigers as she does every day.
"They began to play with her, and the Bengal took both paws and wrapped them around her legs. She fell on the ground and another tiger jumped on her and began to pull on her before they got her out, and she got some lacerations," he said.
Several witnesses, including members of the fire department, rushed to Perry's aid.
Bradbury says Perry is heartbroken by what happened and said she knows the animals didn’t mean to harm her.
“A lot of people, I’m sure, that saw it were horrified, thinking the worst. She said it was obvious they were playing with her because they do love her. She raised them from babies,” Bradbury said.
Bradbury said animal control is aware of the incident, but he doesn't expect any repercussions.
"It's never happened before. She's gone in on hundreds of occasions," he said.
Perry plans on returning to her tigers as soon as she’s released from the hospital. She has 50 animals at her facility, including zebras, birds of prey and leopards.