October 7th, 2013
09:17 AM ET

Tiger Mauls Zoo Worker

Doctors were able to save the arm of an Oklahoma zoo worker after a tiger bit it Saturday, according to the zoo's Facebook page.

The tiger, weighing 500-pounds, attacked the worker feeding it through a wire fence, pulling the woman's entire left arm through a tiny 4-inch square hole, reports CNN’s Miguel Marquez.  (WATCH TOP VIDEO)

The unidentified employee, whose name was not released, was taken to a hospital and was in stable condition after surgery, said Undersheriff Jim Mullett of Garvin County, about 40 miles south of Oklahoma City. She was awake and speaking on the phone later Saturday, the zoo said.

The incident occurred about 10 a.m. (11 a.m. ET) at The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park in Wynnewood.

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Zoo owner Joe Schreibvogel says he was the first one on the scene to perform emergency medical aid when “the main focus was to stop the bleeding and save the woman's life.” He says the zoo will perform an internal investigation after she is out of another surgery later today and able to talk. (WATCH VIDEO)

But the incident has shined a harsh spotlight on the zoo from the Humane Society of the United States and PETA and it turns out, it’s not the first this zoo has come under fire.

Schreibvogel defends his zoo against such criticism saying the statements these organizations have released to press have no effect on the way it functions.

“I don't worry about what the Humane Society or PETA  has to say about anything because, A, they're not here. B, they know nothing about our facility.  And C, I really would rather not comment on an organization that killed 87% of the animals that they got their hands on last year while we work 24/7 to rescue animals and give up everything in our lives to keep these animals alive."

He also defends the scrutiny he’s fallen under for having to declare bankruptcy, saying that any non-profit organization needs help raising funds and paying its bills. Schreibvogel lastly explains alarming video recorded at the park during an undercover investigation that reveals a baby tiger who seems to hurt a child. He says “the tiger never broke skin on” the child in that incident.

“We have been through the investigation with the USDA in regards to their so-called six month undercover investigation…There is an open FBI case for the Animal Terrorist Act, because one question is, if someone was here during six months of abuse and they did not report the abuse, it must not have been that bad or they would have contacted local authorities way before six months.”

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